Activity update: May - September 2021

An overview of activity and outcomes for members.

Over the summer, colleagues at TheCityUK have been gradually returning to the office, easing gently into a new pattern of hybrid working which will begin later this month. The virtual forums we have implemented over the past 18 months will continue to be a core part of how we work, but we also look forward to re-introducing in-person meetings and reconnecting with members and stakeholders.

We have continued to make good progress on our strategy. Our close working with key partners such as the City of London Corporation, the major sector trade associations and the Financial Services Skills Commission has also continued strongly, ensuring we are collectively delivering better outcomes for the industry. I would like to thank members for their continued support and contribution to our work - it is greatly appreciated.

Long-term competitiveness

A wide range of work has been delivered aligned to our long-term competitiveness priority. In May, we launched a report on ‘Cryptoassets: shaping regulation for innovation and global leadership’ outlining considerations to balance the encouragement of innovation and regulatory clarity and ensuring that legislation mitigates related risk in this burgeoning area. It generated extensive media coverage and we continue to take forward its recommendations.

We also launched a report on ‘The UK as a leading centre for international Sovereign Wealth Funds’, in partnership with Clifford Chance, which shows that Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) investment could contribute to long-term growth by funding infrastructure and have an important role to play in post-pandemic economic rebuilding. Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Kt gave a keynote speech at the launch, and our work has been cited by the Minister, as well as by leading multilateral organisations such as the IMF, as a commendable and credible source of data and information about these funds. Thank you also to Invesco who worked with us during the research process.

Further to the publication by BEIS of its consultation on ‘restoring trust in audit and corporate governance’, and following a series of discussions with senior members, we submitted a response focusing on the importance of ensuring that the regimes remain globally attractive and that any changes don’t impact on UK competitiveness.

Following the Board’s approval in March to close our Europe Group and related groups, our work on the future UK-EU relationship has been taken forward under the auspices of our Long-Term Competitiveness Group, chaired by Omar Ali of EY. Our new EU Coordination Group, chaired by Michael Cole Fontayn, is responsible for our strategic approach on this work.

Our work in collaboration with the City of London Corporation to strengthen bilateral relations with Member States is making good strides and we have continued to deliver a programme of engagement with senior policymakers and stakeholders in Brussels, across the Member States and with representations in London. The International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG), with support from Hogan Lovells, published a report on ‘The UK regime for overseas firms’ in July proposing regulatory improvements that could be made to help bolster UK competitiveness.

International trade and investment

On 7 September we launched our new international strategy for the industry, a major piece of work developed in consultation with over 50 members and partners and overseen by our International Trade and Investment Group, chaired by Edward Braham of Freshfields. The strategy focuses on what is needed to retain and grow the UK’s international competitiveness and identifies areas which will drive future growth. It has clear and measurable recommendations for industry, regulators and government, underlines the need for collaboration and will underpin our international activity for the coming years. An active advocacy campaign will take place in the coming months. Thank you to all members who have been involved in developing this work.

Through our Liberalisation of Trade in Services Advisory Group we have been actively inputting into the various trade deals announced by the Department for International Trade (DIT), including the CPTPP, UK-Australia and UK-Singapore deals, the Mexico, Canada and India FTA consultations, the Singapore Digital Economy Agreement and Trade Reviews for Indonesia and Thailand, coordinating with our partners to ensure consistent messages and greater impact.

Our bilateral activity with key markets has been making strong progress. We have provided clear recommendations to the US-UK Financial Regulatory Working Group on opportunities for
regulatory cooperation. and agreed next steps to progress the work. We have prepared a series of recommendations to align our digital payments, including publishing a paper on the topic through our US Technical Working Group in partnership with Eversheds Sutherland, and are now working with HM Treasury on one of the recommendations they are keen to explore more closely. We have been strengthening the British American Finance Alliance (BAFA) and working with the US Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, City of London Corporation, the New York Consulate
and British American Business (BAB) on the TransatlanticFinance Forum (TFF) that will take place in February 2022. A business delegation led by Bruce Carnegie Brown will head to New York as part of the TFF.

The UK-India Economic & Financial Markets Dialogue on 2 September 2021 provided the opportunity to profile the progress of the India-UK Financial Partnership (IUKFP) work on GIFT City, FinTech and cross-border trade and investment. We have increased our engagement with Asia-Pacific markets in response to the growing importance of the region, including a business roundtable with senior officials from HM Treasury and the Monetary Authority of Singapore in support of the sixth UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue. We are also preparing for the next Japan Financial Market Dialogue with the Japan Market Advisory Group.

As part of our work to support the development of financial centres in high-growth emerging markets, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nairobi International Financial Centre. Our New Markets Group, chaired by Nick Tolchard from Invesco, is taking forward the project with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

We are also finalising work in collaboration with EY and the City of London Corporation tracking progress made on recommendations proposed in our report on ‘International trade agreements and UK immigration policy’, which we published last September. A short ‘report card’ will be published in the coming weeks showing what has been adopted and where further progress needs to be made.

Regions and nations

We have continued to maintain good momentum in our regions and nations programme. I am very grateful to our City Chairs for their continued support and contribution to this work. Preparation is well underway for our 2021 National Conference, in partnership with PwC. Also kindly supported by Hargreaves Lansdown and Marsh, this will be our first major hybrid event, held in-person in Bristol on 16 November and also with a virtual viewing option. The event will bring together
our City Chairs, leaders from across the industry, as well as national and local policymakers, for discussions on the contribution of the industry across the regions and nations.

We also continue to organise events with policymakers across the regions and nations, involving our City Chairs where relevant. Virtual roundtable events will take place with Suzanne Webb MP, Virginia Crosbie MP and Kate Forbes MSP, and further engagements are being scheduled.


I am delighted that Anne Marie Verstraeten of BNP Paribas has agreed to chair our new Green and Sustainable Finance Group, which is focused on ensuring the UK is positioned at the forefront of green and sustainable finance. Planning for COP26 is well progressed – we are working closely with the City of London Corporation and the trade associations to coordinate activity and will hold a session as part of the Corporation’s Green Horizons at COP26 programme as well as a series
of regional roundtables. We are also taking forward a range of COP-related events across our programme, including through our Anglo-Italian Dialogue, in recognition of the UK and Italy’s co- presidency of the event.

In June, the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG), supported by KPMG, published its report on ‘Accelerating the S in ESG: a roadmap for global progress on regulatory standards’, recommending a global approach to social principles and standards. Work is underway to take forward its recommendations with key stakeholders.

Trust and reputation

Our economic research programme continues to provide evidence to underline the strength and contribution of the industry and we drew heavily on its messaging, as well as the work of relevant senior committees, to inform our input into the Chancellor’s Mansion House speech in July. His ambition and vision to see the industry power economic growth over the next decade was welcome and was well aligned with the proposals in our ‘A roadmap for economic recovery’ report and also our new ‘International strategy’. We will continue to engage with HM Treasury on how to deliver on the commitments he outlined in his vision and accompanying strategy, ‘A new chapter for financial services’. To measure our impact, track the industry’s reputation and understand where the industry could be doing more, we have commissioned BritainThinks to interview senior policy makers and conduct public polling. We will share the findings of this research with members in due course.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer