It has certainly been an eventful few days in Westminster, with significant changes culminating in the Prime Minister’s resignation. This was preceded earlier in the week by the departure of the Chancellor and City Minister in relatively quick succession. We are keeping a close eye on proceedings and are very keen to engage with new appointees over the coming weeks. We will continue to push the industry’s priority issues throughout the leadership election and with the new administration.
Following this week’s developments, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to John Glen MP in particular for his outstanding contribution and commitment. During his long tenure he was a tireless advocate for our industry, delivered many positive outcomes and leaves a strong legacy through his Financial Services and Markets Bill.
While not as dramatic as events within the government, it has also been a busy time of late for us at TheCityUK, with work continuing at pace across our strategic priorities.
Just last week we held our Annual Conference 2022 in London, sponsored by EY and supported by Citadel Securities and DLA Piper. We welcomed more than 350 delegates and a fantastic line-up of speakers, including a series of keynotes from our new Board Chair, Anne Richards DBE; John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury; and Sarah Pritchard, Executive Director, Markets, FCA. We also held 'in conversations’ with Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor, and Nik Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut, and had three energetic panel sessions focused on tech and innovation, transitioning to net zero and long-term competitiveness and growth. It was great to see so many familiar faces and welcome some first-time attendees. If you were unable to join us on the day, or would like to play back any of the sessions, they’re all available here.
Last week we also launched out latest ‘Key facts about UK-based financial and related professional services report. The report shows the industry’s relative stability throughout the pandemic and notes that its economic output (GVA) saw year-on-year growth of 8% in 2021, following a contraction of 0.6% in 2020, with total industry output in 2021 accounting for 12% of total UK economic output, up from 10% in 2020.
After long calling for enhanced parliamentary scrutiny of the significant new powers and responsibilities flowing to the UK regulators post Brexit, it was very welcome to hear that the House of Commons Treasury Committee will introduce a new sub-committee to consider individual regulatory proposals and the overall approach of the regulators. The proposal had widespread support of the financial and related professional services industry, as well as civil society groups, and this additional democratic oversight will help drive a robust, fair, proportionate and competitive regulatory culture.
As an important piece of financial services legislation, the Financial Services and Markets Bill is naturally a key focus and we’ve been working alongside colleagues at the trade associations and senior industry leaders to coordinate our approach. As advocates for a secondary objective of competitiveness and economic growth to be mandated for the regulators, it was positive to hear when Rachel Reeves MP announce at our Annual Conference that Labour will, in principle, support this if it is included within the Bill. We will keep members updated on our activity as the Bill progresses through Parliament.
The proposed secondary objective was also well discussed at our latest meeting of our Business Council, primarily through a lively debate on industry competitiveness with leading economist John Kay. Members also heard from Gareth Davies MP and Harriett Baldwin MP who gave a useful political and parliamentary update and took Q&As.
Over the last few years our City Chairs – a network of industry practitioners who enhance and support our work across the UK – have been a key part of our regions and nations programme. In order to better reflect the contribution our industry makes to towns and cities right across the country, our City Chairs will now be known as Regional and National Chairs. We look forward to continuing our close working relationship with this group who provide a wealth of expertise and front-line insight to help shape our activity.
Plans for our National Conference 2022, in partnership with Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), are taking good shape. The event will take place in Edinburgh and online on 1 December 2022. You can expect the usual mix of insightful keynote addresses, lively panel debates and networking with senior industry leaders, so save the date and register your interest here.
We continue to make good progress on our international strategy. Last month, at the request of HM Treasury, we organised a UK-Japan business roundtable with the City of London Corporation which ran alongside the inaugural UK-Japan Financial Regulatory Forum. Hosted by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), the event bought together industry representatives from the UK and Japan to support and inform policy thinking and collaborate on financial innovation and asset management. I was also very pleased to speak at LSEG’s Japan Day Conference, where I joined a panel to discuss how Japan and the UK can lead the way in harnessing capital markets to drive sustainability.
We were delighted to support two forums on capital markets connectivity and green and sustainable finance which took place in June ahead of the 4th UK-China Financial Services Summit – an industry-led dialogue accompanying the bilateral Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD). Both bought together senior industry stakeholders from the UK and China to discuss these prominent issues and bilateral cooperation.
Our Switzerland Market Advisory Group (MAG) took a delegation to Zurich and Bern on 23-24 June. It was an opportunity to reconnect with our counterparts in Switzerland and meet with key Swiss and UK officials to discuss the ongoing Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) and upcoming Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. Looking beyond the current negotiations, the Switzerland MAG also had meetings with Swiss officials to discuss how the two countries can work together to support innovation and research in financial services.
Looking ahead to the party conferences season, we will be attending the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP conferences and will run our usual agenda of fringe events, panel discussions, networking and drinks receptions. We would be delighted to meet with members, so if you are planning to attend, please let us know.
In the meantime, for those of you planning to get away over the summer, I wish you an enjoyable break.