Miles' blog December 2021

As we come to the end of what has certainly been a busy and eventful year, I hope you are looking forward to a well-deserved break over the Christmas period. Our offices will be closed from 23 December for the festive period, but we will be back on 4 January, ready to focus on our agenda for the new year.

I am very pleased that we have announced the appointment of Dame Anne Richards, DBE, Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity International, as our new Board Chair. Anne will succeed Mark Tucker when he steps down at the end of May next year. We are very fortunate to have someone of Anne’s calibre take over from Mark, who has made an enormous contribution to our work during his tenure.

Since my last blog, we have been making good progress across our strategic priorities. We have been slowly returning to holding face-to-face or hybrid events, including our National Conference, in partnership with PwC, which was our first major hybrid event. Also kindly supported by Marsh and Hargreaves Lansdown, we held the conference in Bristol and online and were joined by around 170 delegates who heard from the likes of City Minister, John Glen MP; Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP; Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien MP; and Head of FCA Scotland and Lead on Regional Engagement, Maggie Craig. We also had a great series of panels on innovation and talent across the regions and nations, driving a sustainable recovery and diversity and inclusion. We are now focused on preparations for our first International Conference, which will also be hybrid and take place next year on 7 April.

We launched our ‘Enabling growth across the UK 2021’ report at the end of last month – our annual analysis of the industry’s economic contribution to the regions and nations of the UK. The report also sets out a series of key industry priorities and policy recommendations to ensure the business environment continues to support competitiveness. We welcomed a keynote address from Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands, at the report launch alongside a lively panel discussion – if you weren’t able to tune in, you can watch a recording of the session here.

Our City Chairs continue to play a central role in driving forward our regions and nations activity. I was very pleased to announce the appointment last month of our new City Chair for Cardiff, Dr Nicola Bannister, senior director and Ambassador for Wales at Lloyds.

We continue to take forward activities to support our sustainability agenda, including a series of activities around COP26 in collaboration with the City of London Corporation. We hosted an event at COP26 with the Green Finance Institute and City of London Corporation’s 'Green Horizon' focusing on the enabling role of the industry in supporting clients in their transition to net-zero. Emma Reynolds, our Managing Director of Public Affairs, Policy & Research, also joined a panel at the Mansion House to discuss the ‘Green Global Playbook’ being developed out of COP26 and how our industry can contribute.

We launched a very well received report on ‘Sustainable digital finance’ in partnership with Clifford Chance, which set out how the UK can harness the benefits technology can bring to accelerate the availability and use of green and sustainable finance. We are also working on our new green finance report, supported by BNP Paribas and with data provided by Refinitiv, which will be published early next year.

Work on our international agenda continues at pace and it has been very positive to see some strong outcomes in recent weeks that will support the successful delivery of our international strategy. These include the introduction by HM Treasury of new statutory secondary objectives for the regulators requiring them to consider how regulations impact on UK growth and international competitiveness – aligning with recommendations put forward through both our International Trade and Investment Group (ITIG) and International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG). We were also pleased that the UK Migration Advisory Committee recommended to government to drop the requirement for short-term workers coming to the UK to acquire work visas – a recommendation reflected in the award-winning report ‘Global talent mobility: ensuring UK competitiveness’ we prepared with EY and the City of London Corporation.

Last week we launched our annual ‘Key facts about the UK as an international financial centre 2021’ report – one of the key pillars in programme of economic research, and also the 10th iteration of our annual report about UK legal services, ‘Legal excellence, internationally renowned’. Recordings of these launch events are available on our YouTube Webinars Playlist.

Our work on the access to finance workstream of the Life Sciences Scale-up Taskforce – which is focused on driving progress on how life science companies can start, grow and scale in the UK – is now completed, with work presented this week to the Secretary of State for BEIS at the final meeting of the Taskforce. I am very grateful to PwC for their contribution to this project, which captured insights from across industry about the barriers and proposed solutions.

With Christmas just round the corner, I would like to the take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and engagement with our work. I would also like to thank the team at TheCityUK for their ongoing dedication and hard work.

On behalf of everyone at TheCityUK, I wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2022. As ever, you can find information on our recent work on our website. If you would like any further information on any of our work or events, please contact us.

Miles