CEO blog: Miles' latest update after a busy start to 2024

19 February 2024

Following a busy end to 2023, we have carried that good momentum into the new year with outcomes and activity being delivered across our strategic priorities. In a year where elections will be held in over 60 countries, political engagement remains high on our agenda, both in the UK and internationally.

We were delighted to welcome the Chancellor to our Annual Dinner, held in partnership with Shearman & Sterling at the spectacular Raffles London, where he took part in a well-received ‘in conversation’ with Francine Lacqua from Bloomberg TV. The hotel is on the site of the Old War Office (OWO), which gave inspiration to Ian Fleming’s James Bond and there was a strong 007 theme running through the address from our Leadership Council Chair, Bruce Carnegie-Brown. He drew comparisons of our industry with Bond, both of which are great British export success stories. He also borrowed from Bond’s world to emphasise the themes our industry will need to harness to grow and stay competitive in a risky world: the right intelligence, custom-fit infrastructure and cutting-edge innovation. You can read his full speech here and view all the photos from the evening here.

Earlier this month, we hosted the launch of the Labour Party’s plan for Financial Services with industry leaders and senior Labour figures: the Shadow Chancellor, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Mayor of London, which was exclusively filmed by Channel 4 News. I also attended the Labour Business Conference where the report was widely socialised, joining the financial services breakfast and meeting afterward with Shadow Economic Secretary Tulip Siddiq MP. The event had a strong focus on innovation, modernising the regulatory landscape and driving investment and growth and was also a great opportunity to speak to journalists and stakeholders about our industry priorities for a future government.

Rachel Reeves MP and her team discussing the Labour Party’s plan for Financial Services at our office

We also continue to engage with government on these priorities and have submitted responses to the upcoming Spring Budget and several other consultations to promote our views. We have also sent written submissions to Labour and the Liberal Democrats to feed into the drafting of their manifestos and engaged with the key advisors working on them. We continue to meet regularly with key stakeholders from the SNP.

The latest update of our annual ‘Key facts about the UK as an international financial centre’ report was launched last month, showing that, despite the ongoing challenging economic backdrop, the resilience and adaptability of the UK-based financial and related professional services industry remains strong. The report contains the latest facts and data about the industry in the global context and remains a key source of information for industry and government, with contents regularly cited in various publications and speeches.

Our annual report on the legal services sector, ‘Legal excellence, internationally renowned’, which was launched in December, is similarly well-regarded and drawn on by key stakeholders. The report underlines the strength and reputation of the UK as a world-leading centre for legal services and dispute resolution, with £43.7bn of revenue generated in 2022. It also generated good media coverage in outlets such as The Times, City A.M. and key legal trades and a follow up event will take place in the coming weeks with the Lord Chancellor.

At the end of last year, we held our National Conference, kindly sponsored by PwC, in Manchester. The event, also supported by interactive investor, focused on the industry’s contribution across the regions and nations and its role in supporting issues such as regional growth, levelling up and the net-zero transition. Alongside Bim Afolami MP’s first speech as Economic Secretary to the Treasury, delegates also heard from Treasury Select Committee member, Dame Angela Eagle DBE MP, and Lou Cordwell OBE, Chair of the Greater Manchester Business Board, as well as a series of lively panel sessions. The sessions are available to watch here.

Preparations are underway for two upcoming conferences – our inaugural Future Skills Conference in partnership with the Financial Services Skills Commission and our International Conference, now in its third year. The former will focus on the skills and talent challenges and opportunities facing the industry how to ensure the industry has the skills it needs for the future to continue driving growth and prosperity across the country. The latter will look at the key commercial drivers and themes that will guide businesses and underpin the UK’s position as a world-leading international financial centre. You can find details of both events here.

I was delighted to attend COP28 in Dubai in December where I attended a series of industry-focused events including the UN Global Compact Network and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative Climate Finance Summit. We also hosted a productive roundtable in collaboration with BNP Paribas on transition finance. Building on the momentum generated at COP28, we continue to focus on supporting the efforts to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the net-zero transition.

We were pleased to see the changes to UK business visitor rules set out by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement – these are ones for which we have long been advocating. The measures provide greater flexibility and agility for firms with a multinational workforce, simplifying and streamlining processes and reducing costs, marking a significant step in maintaining the UK’s competitive edge.

We were very pleased to sign an MoU with the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine and the London Stock Exchange Group plc to support the development of the Ukrainian financial and related professional services industry through ‘The City-Ukraine Hub’. The project, supported by the FCDO, will establish a robust framework and supporting financial market infrastructure to underpin a private-sector led recovery. We are working closely with partners across the industry to deliver this important work and will keep members updated on its progress.

Our Leadership Council Chair, Bruce Carnegie-Brown, signing the MoU with the Ministry of Economy in Ukraine and London Stock Exchange plc

I have undertaken some very productive visits to key markets recently as part of our international programme of work. I recently travelled to Hong Kong for the Asia Financial Forum (AFF) where we held bilateral meetings with regulators such as Hong Kong Insurance Authority (HKIA), among others, to understand sector-specific developments and opportunities for collaboration. Our engagement with the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC) at AFF also touched upon global issues for financial centres and multilateral collaboration.

In November I visited Washington D.C. and New York for a series of productive meetings and events with members, senior stakeholders and policymakers. Discussions centred around strengthening transatlantic business ties with a strong focus on digital innovation and cooperation. On the back of this, we were delighted to host Superintendent Adrienne Harris of the New York Department for Financial Services in London for a follow-up discussion with members.

At the end of last year, I travelled to Switzerland with Joe Cassidy of KPMG, Chair of our Swiss Market Advisory Group, for an event to mark the signing of the Berne Financial Services Agreement, a commitment from two of the world’s major financial centres to foster deeper cooperation in financial services. Having been involved in the agreement’s negotiation from the offset, this is a notable example of industry and government working in unison and we will continue to collaborate with industry and government on its implementation.

As part of our ongoing work to support the UK industry for future success in Indonesia, one of the fastest-growing parts of the Indo-Pacific, we hosted a delegation from the Nusantara Capital Authority (OIKN) with the Department for Business and Trade towards the end of last year. We discussed the latest development of Nusantara, Indonesia’s new capital city, and shared our expertise on international financial centre development for possible future collaboration.

At the end of last month, John Cooke, Co-Chair of our Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) Expert Advisory Group, was one of three business representatives invited to brief the House of Commons Business & Trade Committee at a private roundtable on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), ahead of a visit to by Committee members to Brussels. We were very clear that strengthening the EU-UK business relationship remains a priority for the industry and noted our hope that the TCA review in 2026 will help to improve market access for services, to the mutual benefit of the UK and EU. We also pressed for the UK to develop a strategy to underline how the UK’s strength in financial and related professional services is a European asset, backed by examples of how greater cooperation – in the movement of business personnel, and recognition of qualifications, for instance – would benefit both UK and EU objectives.

As ever, this is just a summary of our recent activity. You can read more about what we have been doing in the ‘our work’ and ‘news’ sections. We continue to be grateful to our members for their ongoing support, engagement and guidance.


Miles Celic photo
Miles Celic Chief Executive Officer

Miles Celic is Chief Executive Officer of TheCityUK, a position he has held since September 2016. He is also a board member of UK Finance and the Financial Services Skills Commission.