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.
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.