Activity update - November 2021 - March 2022

An overview of activity and outcomes for members.

Activity across our strategic priorities has continued at pace over the winter and we continue to deliver key outcomes for members through our ongoing policymaker and stakeholder engagement, in-market delegations, reports and publications, senior meetings and events. We have also successfully announced the successor chairs for our Leadership Council and our Board, Bruce Carnegie-Brown and Dame Anne Richards respectively.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we have been working closely with members, British and international authorities and partners to understand the implications for the industry. We have terminated our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Moscow International Centre and Forum Analytical Center, notice about which was served in collaboration with other EU financial centres, including Luxembourg for Finance and Paris Europlace, who also cancelled their respective MoUs.
Our agreement sought to support the development of Moscow as an international financial centre, with particular focus on enhancing cross-border collaboration, encouraging joint initiatives and improving corporate governance standards. Under the current circumstances, such ambitions are no longer appropriate, or possible. We will continue to work closely with members and partners on this issue.

Long-term competitiveness

Activity is progressing around the UK’s investment narrative and strategy. Last month we convened a roundtable with Lord Grimstone and our Long-Term Competitiveness and International Trade and Investment Groups to discuss this topic in some detail. As a follow on, we will be hosting a further series of roundtables focusing on specific policy areas.

Considerable work has gone in to preparing two significant responses to government consultations: the ‘HMG Future Regulatory Framework: Proposals for Reform’ and ‘FCA Consumer Duty’. The former delivered through the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG), the latter within TheCityUK. These have included engagement with regulators, government, the City of London Corporation and industry trade associations to socialise positions and seek feedback. We are also working closely with the City of London Corporation and the trade associations to ensure alignment on messaging ahead of the upcoming Financial Services Bill, which we expect will respond to the legislative consequences of a wide range of HM Treasury (HMT) consultations.
We continue to engage with European stakeholders and EU Ambassadors in market and in London. In partnership with the City of London Corporation, we recently ran a hybrid delegation to Luxembourg with sessions focused on digital, sustainable finance and regulatory reform. We have also recently held roundtables with the Ambassador of Switzerland to the UK, and another with the Minister-Counsellor for Financial and Economic Affairs at the French Embassy. The French Ambassador has agreed to lead a roundtable following the French Presidential Election in April. Our Anglo- Dutch Financial Services Dialogue met in March at The Hague and our Anglo-Italian Financial Services Dialogues will meet in the coming weeks.

We continue to offer industry perspectives to relevant inquiries into Brexit. Last month I gave evidence to the House of Lords’ European Affairs Select Committee to support their inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the industry.

International strategy

We have been focused on delivering three core objectives from the international strategy: access to global talent, digital trade and investment attraction.

Further to the launch of our ‘Global talent mobility scorecard’ with EY and the City of London Corporation, we are implementing an advocacy campaign to remove the requirement for inter-corporate transferees coming to the UK needing short-term work visas. Later this month, we will convene a roundtable between government and members to discuss this further.

On digital trade, we are bringing together a group of member experts to discuss with government officials how and why industry moves non-personal data and what government could do to facilitate cross-border data flows. With regards to investment attraction, we have presented suggested improvements to the investment attraction regime and the implementation of the National Security and Investment Act to Lord Grimstone and our LOTIS Expert Advisory Group convened a roundtable with BEIS officials to discuss areas where members welcomed further guidance.

We continue to socialise our international strategy with key stakeholders and partners, including ministers and officials across government departments, MPs, including the Shadow Cabinet and members of the House of Commons International Trade Committee, as well as Ambassadors and officials within UK and international Embassies and High Commissions. A tracker and external metrics are also being finalised in collaboration with the City of London Corporation to measure the UK’s relative health as an international financial centre compared to competing jurisdictions.

Last month I co-led a successful delegation to New York and Washington DC alongside our US Market Advisory Group (MAG) Chair, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, and Catherine McGuinness to strengthen bilateral trade, investment and regulatory cooperation. We met with a range of key stakeholders, including US government officials, regulators and media, and held a networking reception at the Consul General’s residence and events as part of the Transatlantic Finance Forum. We are now focused on how to build on the substantial ambition and goodwill that was generated.

Our China MAG met in person for the first time in two years in early February and were joined by HMT and the British Embassy in Beijing to discuss the forward look for UK-China trade and investment relationship, as well as the next Economic and Financial Dialogue, which is expected to be held in the coming months after a three-year hiatus.
It was very positive to see many of the recommendations we set out in our India-UK Financial Partnership (IUKFP) GIFT City paper taken up in the Union Budget of India, which was released at the beginning of February. The IUKFP’s next paper on FinTech and data will be launched in March to support the forward work programmes of HMT and the Indian Ministry of Finance. With their support, we have socialised an advance copy of the paper with the Bank of England, FCA, DIT and the Reserve Bank of India.

Regions and nations

Following publication of the government’s White Paper on Levelling Up, we are considering where there are further opportunities for government to partner with industry to achieve its ambitions. While it was positive to see several of our recommendations reflected in the White Paper, we will continue to push this agenda and deepen our engagement with key political stakeholders.

Our City Chairs are very engaged in promoting socio-economic diversity across the industry and we are partnering with the City of London Corporation and their Taskforce on Socio-Economic Diversity to run a series of regional events to explore this further. Our City Chairs for Newcastle and Leeds were also involved in an event we ran for members in the north of England with representatives from the HMT team at the department’s Darlington campus.

We launched our ‘Enabling growth across the UK’ report at the end of November, with the event featuring a keynote address from the Mayor of West Midlands, Andy Street. We also issued a range of supporting collateral, including a mailing to policymakers highlighting industry employment across UK constituencies.

Planning is in train for our 2022 National Conference, which we will hold in Edinburgh in December in partnership with Scottish Financial Enterprise.

Trust and reputation

Our 2022 Annual Dinner, held in partnership with Shearman & Sterling, was a great success. Guests joined us at The Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square to hear speeches from Sir Adrian, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. Media coverage stemming from the speeches was extensive, with around 560 articles generated, all of which mentioned TheCityUK event as the platform for their delivery.

Preparations for our hybrid International Conference on 7 April, in partnership with Freshfields and HSBC, are well progressed, as is planning for our Annual Conference on 30 June, sponsored by EY. I am also very grateful to Citadel Securities and DLA Piper who are also supporting partners for the latter event.

In recent months, both the government and opposition have shuffled ministerial posts – the former making more limited changes. We have since been constructively engaging with new ministers and officials to ensure they are familiar with TheCityUK and our positions. As part of our ongoing efforts to educate policymakers about financial and related professional services, we will be organising briefing sessions on the challenges and opportunities for the industry with the Shadow Business and International Trade teams over the coming months.

During December we launched our final two economic reports of the year: ‘UK legal services’ and ‘Key facts about the UK as an international financial centre’. Our legal report launch included a keynote speech from Lord Wolfson and the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Julian Flaux; our ‘Key facts’ launch featured a panel session with a range of practitioners and a keynote from a Minister at the Department for International Trade (DIT). Both reports generated good media coverage across a wide range of outlets, with our ‘Key facts’ report gaining well over 300 mentions in articles across 30 countries.

We have continued to run our series of policymaker roundtables including recent events with the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Chair of the cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee, and Shadow Minister for Asia and Pacific.

Sustainability

We are currently finalising our green finance report, in partnership with BNP Paribas, ahead of its launch on 31 March. As previously discussed, this new report will provide evidence of the UK’s role as a centre for green finance, analysing global and UK green finance markets (debt and equity), and its position relative to its international peers. A series of roundtables in London and across the regions and nations will be scheduled to discuss the report’s findings, and an event will be held in Brussels in April to discuss the report and sustainability issues more broadly.

The IRSG’s ESG Workstream has continued to feed into the work of the Green Taxonomy Advisory Group (GTAG) and in collaboration with Accenture, released a report ‘ESG ratings and ESG data in financial services – a practitioner’s view’. The report, which urges policymakers to adopt principle-based and proportionate regulation to improve the ESG ratings market, generated extensive media coverage in a wide range of outlets.

Sustainable finance and ESG matters continue to be an increasing priority in all our market-focused Advisory Groups. In February, we held a sustainable investment workshop in partnership with the UK-India Business Council, the British High Commission in India, HMT and the City of London Corporation, to discuss commercial opportunities for sustainable infrastructure in India. Around 100 UK investors were offered insights and guidance on how to best access government support as well as introductions to potential co-investment partners.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer