Miles’ blog – March 2021

As we pass the one-year milestone of remote working, it’s a timely moment to reflect on the significant changes we have all had to make to the way we live, work and interact. I for one am very proud of how colleagues across TheCityUK have adapted and successfully transformed the way we operate and engage with members and stakeholders. It was also pleasing to see this reflected in our recent member pulse survey, where 86% of members noted their satisfaction with how we had adapted our programme into virtual forums. While we are certainly looking forward to being able to reinstate in-person meetings, I am sure that the efficiencies offered by virtual forums will see them become a mainstay for some time.

It was positive to see that despite the challenging backdrop, we saw an uptick in members’ favourability towards us and perceptions of our effectiveness – rising to 91% and 90% respectively. Around nine in 10 members also said we make a significant contribution to industry debates; have a positive influence on relevant policy and regulatory issues; and are strategically focused in the right areas.

The survey is a valuable opportunity for us to gather members’ views about our work – where things are progressing well, and where we need to place further focus over the coming year. I am hugely grateful to those who contributed and for members’ continued support and engagement in our work. You can read more about the survey here.

Our regions and nations activity continues to make good progress and see us engage key local stakeholders across the country. Our City Chairs have led a series of virtual events in partnership with the Financial Services Skills Commission and the Professional Services Business Council through February and March to discuss regional skills priorities. These will inform a report due out in late spring, with recommendations to be fed-in at ministerial level.

Just last week we launched our annual ‘Key facts about the UK-based financial and related professional industry’ report – a mainstay of our economic research programme and foundational collateral to reinforce the positive value and contribution the industry makes to society and the economy.  Work is underway on a new green finance report which will be published later in the year and provide evidence for the scale of the UK’s role as a centre for green finance. This report is part of a series of work underway in the lead up to COP26 and on our sustainability agenda.

Following the Budget statement earlier this month, we welcomed the Chancellor’s commitments to review the bank surcharge and to swiftly implement the recommendations of the Hill and Kalifa reviews – both of which we were pleased to support and to provide input. 

Since the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) was signed we have continued to focus on the outstanding issues and implications for our industry. Earlier this month, the Chair of our LOTIS Committee gave evidence to the International Trade Committee on the industry’s views on the TCA and its impact on trade in services. He emphasised the importance of building on the TCA where possible, normalising the UK-EU relationship and addressing outstanding areas such as the UK-EU MoU on financial services regulatory cooperation. In January we submitted written and gave oral evidence on a similar topic to the House of Lords EU Select Committee earlier in the year and it was positive to see us quoted extensively in its recently published report.

Our close working with the City of London Corporation continues to be successful across several areas and projects. This includes our joint programme of EU engagement with leading EU and Member State officials, bilateral CEO engagements and meetings of the International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) Financial Services Dialogues, which remains an important stream of work post-Brexit. Our webinar last month on financial services priorities for the UK G7 and Italian G20 Presidencies in partnership with the City of London Corporation, British Embassy Rome, Embassy of Italy in London and Italian Banking, Finance and Insurance Federation was very positively received, with panellists outlining the UK G7 and Italy G20 Finance Track priorities and welcoming the synergy between the two agendas.

Our international work is progressing well, with several key outcomes being delivered over recent weeks. As part of our role in providing the secretariat for the British American Finance Alliance (BAFA), we delivered constructive meetings with senior stakeholders in HM Treasury and US Treasury to discuss the future of the UK-US bilateral trade and investment and regulatory cooperation agendas. We also continue to connect members with senior US stakeholders through our events and meetings program. Further to HMG’s intentions to negotiate a new trade agreement with Canada, we’re beginning to form a Canada task and finish group.

Our long-standing activities to develop cooperation between the UK and Russia’s financial and related professional services industries are making good progress. We completed the third phase of our FinTech cooperation between the UK and Russia aimed at showcasing UK FinTech expertise and exploring how FinTechs can help spur a sustainable economic recovery from Covid-19 in both countries.

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.