As the government’s roadmap out of lockdown continues to progress to plan, conversations about returning to the office, and more broadly about returning to towns and cities across the UK, are intensifying. We are cautiously phasing colleagues back into our office and relaxing restrictions in line with government guidance. I know that those who have been coming in have found it hugely beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Our recent series of member roundtables on this topic have generated some great debates and insights. The first, chaired by our Leadership Council Chairman Sir Adrian Montague, focused broadly on future role and value of the office; the following two were focused more regionally, considering how the return to office story may differ across the UK’s regions and nations, and what our industry hubs and clusters may look like in the years ahead. These were chaired by Cara Wood, a member of our Next Generation Leadership Council and an Associate at Odgers Berndtson, and Leigh Meyer of Citi, TheCityUK City Chair for Belfast. These issues, alongside the future of work, will undoubtedly remain high priorities for some time to come.
We recently launched our ‘A roadmap for economic recovery’ report. It sets out how the industry can play its role in the nation’s post-Covid economic recovery, supporting customers, businesses and communities right across the country. Some of its recommendations are ones the industry can take forward itself, but others will require close working with government, regulators and other key stakeholders. We are now focused on championing these ideas over the coming weeks and months. Emma Reynolds, our Managing Director, Public Affairs, Policy & Research, has recently posted a blog about one of the areas the report delves into: sustainability.
Preparations are well underway for our virtual 2021 Annual Conference, in partnership with Citadel Securities and also kindly supported by PA Consulting and Phoenix Group. It will take place on 15 June and explore opportunities for the industry’s future growth, focusing on areas such as sustainability, innovation and how the industry can support the nation’s economic recovery post-Covid. Registration is still open and we have a great line up of speakers, including the Governor of the Bank of England and Lord Hill. I look forward to welcoming you on the day.
I am delighted that Kay Swinburne, Vice Chair of Financial Services at KPMG UK, has taken on the role of Chair of the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) Council. The IRSG is a joint venture between TheCityUK and the City of London Corporation, and has been at the forefront of much of our work around Brexit and key issues such as data and the future of regulation. Kay will be a terrific Chair and we look forward to working with her.
We continue to make good progress on our strategic priorities, with our recent Board meeting focusing in particular on our long-term competitiveness and regions and nations activity. Our Long-Term Competitiveness Group, chaired by Omar Ali of EY, met earlier this month and is focused on deliverables to build the attractiveness of the UK.
In our ‘Roadmap’ report, we set out several recommendations in relation to the levelling-up agenda, including a call on government to appoint a dedicated Cabinet Minister and civil services delivery team to really drive the agenda forward. The recent appointment of Neil O'Brien MP was therefore a positive step and we are organising a meeting with him for our City Chairs to discuss the industry's contribution to the levelling-up agenda. We are also working with the City of London Corporation to extend our partnership work across the regions and nations. Alongside making a positive industry impact on levelling up, this will also include focus on building the profile of regional industry hubs as green clusters.
We are gathering good momentum on our sustainability priority. I am very pleased that Anne Marie Verstraeten, UK Country Head, BNP Paribas, has agreed to chair our new Green and Sustainable Finance Group, which will be focused on ensuring the UK is positioned at the forefront of green and sustainable finance. In the lead up to COP26, we are taking forward a range of related events, including through our Anglo-Italian Dialogue, in recognition of the UK and Italy’s co-presidency of the event. We are also working closely with the sector trade associations and the City of London Corporation on COP26 activity.
We continue to deliver strong outcomes across several of our priority international markets and areas. We have been engaging with HM Treasury to discuss UK-US regulatory cooperation, and are coordinating a series of business roundtables with officials and regulators in the lead up to the UK-Japan Financial Dialogues and the new UK-Japan Regulatory Forum. HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade have also asked us to host a green finance event for Singapore in support of the UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue in June. Working with partners, we continue to promote the industry’s interests in other key markets such as the US, China, Switzerland, India and elsewhere.
While the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the EU is yet to be formally agreed, we remain focused on the outstanding issues and implications for our industry. We have been actively engaging in this debate through the media and continue to discuss priorities with government and key EU stakeholders.
As ever, these are just a few highlights of our activity. More information on some of our other recent work and our latest blog posts can be found on our news page. If you would like any further information on any of our work or events, please contact us.