Activity update

The summer months were very busy, with outcomes delivered across our strategic priorities, not least on key legislation such as the Financial Services and Markets Act and within the National Security Act. We delivered our best-ever attended Annual Conference; continued our strong political engagement across all major parties and with key stakeholders from global markets; ran a series of successful international meetings and delegations; and published well-regarded reports, papers and insights. I am also delighted to welcome Farmida Bi CBE of Norton Rose Fulbright as our new IRSG Council chair, our co-venture with the City of London Corporation.

Long-term competitiveness

Following an extended campaign to press industry priorities during the passage of the Financial Services and Markets Bill through parliament, during which we worked with members, partners and policymakers across parliament and parties, we were very pleased to see our key objectives realised in the final Act, which received Royal Assent in June. These included the secondary objective for growth and competitiveness and greater regulatory accountability, transparency and scrutiny, with appropriate measures to track this over time. The government also responded to our recommendation to formalise the process of creating KPIs for the FCA and PRA, launching a ‘call for proposals’ inviting feedback from industry. Our efforts will now focus on ensuring the Act’s effective implementation.

Following our successful campaign to amend the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS) as part of the National Security Act and remove our members from the legislation’s scope, the Act has now received Royal Assent. Plans are in place for the Home Office to convene expert panels to look at guidance, particularly to define ‘relevant activity’, and we have been invited to take part in those panels. It is currently expected that the FIRS will come into force in 2024, at the earliest.

Our capital markets group sent a letter to the Chancellor ahead of his Mansion House speech and have submitted a more detailed policy paper ahead of the Autumn Statement, in which the Chancellor has pledged to outline measures to improve the public equity market in the UK. We continue to discuss our recommendations with officials and key stakeholders in the run up to that event.

In June we held our 2023 Annual Conference, focused on the industry’s role in driving economic growth and competitiveness. Sponsored by Citadel Securities and DLA Piper, we welcomed more than 350 delegates who heard from a fantastic line-up of speakers, including Andrew Griffith MP, EST; Tulip Siddiq MP, Shadow EST; Sheldon Mills, Executive Director of Consumers and Competition at the FCA; and Bruce Carnegie-Brown, our Leadership Council Chair. We also had a series of wide-ranging panel discussions with senior practitioners and stakeholders and welcomed Bloomberg Radio, who broadcast live from the event across the morning, streamed the first panel session and promoted it in advance.

Through our Legal Services Group, we recently submitted a response to the Regulation of legal services (Scotland) Bill, setting out industry’s concerns and opposition to several of its provisions which threaten to seriously undermine the independence of Scotland’s legal profession from the state. Our position was well covered in an article in The Times, and we will continue to press our case with key stakeholders in Holyrood and Westminster.

Trust and reputation

We have continued our strong engagement with the major political parties ahead of the anticipated general election next year. We have been strengthening relationships with Labour’s policy advisers covering a range of portfolios and submitted evidence to the policy forming process. We hosted a high-level roundtable with Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Pensions Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth MP and Shadow Business Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds MP, to discuss what policy steps Labour could take to increase the proportion of assets under management that pension funds allocate to growth and alternatives, and generate larger pools of institutional capital.

We engaged with members of the Liberal Democrats frontbench team at a recent meeting of their Business Network, including the chair of their manifesto writing committee, Lord Dick Newby. The SNP’s new Westminster Treasury spokesperson, Stewart Hosie MP, will join us for a roundtable in October as part of our ongoing general election series, supported by Aquis Exchange, and we will also be scheduling in an event with a Labour Treasury spokesperson.

We continue to actively engage with key government figures. We have recently met with the Secretary of State for Justice and two key business advisers from 10 Downing Street. We have held dinners to bring members together with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon John Glen MP and the Conservative Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Harriet Baldwin MP. We are also engaging with members to develop our submission to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and will be engaging with key stakeholders to promote its policy asks.

Regions and nations

Our ‘Enabling growth across the UK 2023’ report, launched on 5 September at an event in Leeds, will underpin much of our engagement across the regions and nations over the coming weeks and months. As ever, the report underlines the contribution the industry makes to economies right across the country, with the addition this year of both a series of policy recommendations for how  the industry can further support nationwide economic growth, and a study of the triggers that prompt firms to make regional investments. Over the coming weeks, we will be using the report to engage with key stakeholders, including at a reception in the Scottish Parliament with SFE, a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons for MPs, and through our party conference events.

We continue to strengthen relations with the metro mayors and other regional leaders, in particular those who will be seeking election in May 2024, as we seek to influence their manifestos and priorities. Our roundtable with Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, in July was an ideal opportunity to discuss the role of the industry and local leadership in driving growth.

Preparations are well underway for our 2023 National Conference, sponsored by PwC. This year’s event will be held in Manchester on Thursday 23 November, with confirmed keynote speakers so far including Andrew Griffith MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Rt Hon Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so, you can register your interest to attend the conference on our website.


We continued to drive forward the work of the international strategy by holding a series of expert roundtables to inform the government’s reviews of business mobility and investment attraction. Ahead of the election we also briefed shadow ministers on the industry’s key asks for trade and investment.

As part of our ongoing work to improve market access and reduce regulatory frictions with key markets, we met with stakeholders and members in Dubai and Riyadh to better understand the opportunities in the Middle East and specific issues to be addressed. We followed this up by meeting Saudi regulators and government in market and hosting a UK-Saudi Arabia roundtable in London with representatives from the Saudi Central Bank and Ministry of Investment to explore how we can enable greater bilateral trade and investment flows between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

We continue to strengthen UK-US industry linkages, including through our delegation with UK Finance to New York and Washington DC in May. The meetings helped us prepare for the Executive Order on outward investment screening and better understand US policy positions on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), green reporting standards and digital assets. In July we were delighted to welcome the US Ambassador to the UK at a recent Extraordinary Leadership Council meeting. The Ambassador covered a wide range of issues with members, including recent high-level visits, implications of the Atlantic Declaration on the UK-US relationship, geopolitical trends, trade, economic security, the global AI summit and the role that government and business in the net-zero transition.

To enable us to better understand the challenges facing the Chinese economy we were pleased to welcome the new HM Trade Commissioner for China and Hong Kong to a recent China Market Advisory Group (MAG) meeting. The conversation covered UK businesses’ priorities for engagement with China and appetite from companies in both countries for balanced discussions on areas of mutual importance, including green and sustainable finance.

Closer engagement with the EU and its Member States was pursued ahead of the new Regulatory Forum, which will have its first meeting in the Autumn. It is very positive that HM Treasury has agreed to use the Europe Market Advisory Group and IRSG EU Regulatory Working Group (both of which involve all our trade association partners) as the key point of contact for input. We also hosted the Anglo-Italian Financial Services Dialogue to develop shared policy views around digital assets and green finance reporting.

Across other priority markets, we hosted a Singapore Roundtable on transition finance with regulators and government officials from both sides and members ahead of the Financial Dialogue in London. We contributed to the final negotiations of the Swiss Mutual Recognition Agreement, which is expected to be announced in December and welcomed inbound delegations from Bahrain, South Korea, Mongolia and Uzbekistan.

With strong support from members, we took an active role in the Ukraine Recovery Conference, signing the Ukraine Business Compact, and working with Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to explore how our industry’s expertise can be used to redevelop the Kyiv financial centre. Our development work in Viet Nam was recognised by a high-level visit from the Government of Vietnam and the launch of our report on how to establish an international financial centre.

Green finance and sustainability  

In response to the US IRA, we published a short paper on how the UK Government can meet its ambition to be the world’s first net-zero aligned financial centre and remain an attractive market for green investment. This builds on the work of our 2022 report ‘Enabling the net-zero transition’ with PwC and proposes action in three key areas – long-term policy, long-term certainty and nurturing competitive advantage. We are promoting these positions to policymakers ahead of the Autumn Statement.

In May we launched ground-breaking new research on carbon markets, in partnership with ICE, which identifies the different types of pricing instruments; explains the role of the industry in developing carbon markets; and provides quantitative analysis of these markets and their evolution in the UK. The findings from the report were discussed at a roundtable with members and a delegation of Chinese firms led by the Co-Chair of the UK-China Green Finance Taskforce. We are also using them to engage with policymakers and as a basis for policy development on carbon markets.

In July, we hosted a UK-Singapore industry roundtable on sustainable finance, bringing together senior business leaders to discuss how they are supporting nature-based solutions as part of their green and sustainable finance strategies. The event was an important opportunity to enhance international cooperation to halt nature and biodiversity loss, and to mobilise public and private funding to support industries and technologies which are essential in driving the net-zero transition.