It’s certainly been an action-packed few weeks in government. Following last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, among the new ministerial appointments was a new Chancellor in Rishi Sunak MP – we look forward to engaging him over the coming weeks to discuss the industry’s priorities across a range of key areas.
At the end of January, the government’s ambition to “get Brexit done” came to fruition as the UK formally left the European Union. Boris Johnson has since set out his stall for a future UK-EU trading relationship, based on the EU-Canada trade deal. His speech set the outline of the UK’s intentions, but the weeks ahead will provide the necessary colour and shade. As this phase of the negotiations progress, we will continue to push forward our agenda for the industry focusing on continuity of services to customers, supporting prosperity and minimising the risk of market fragmentation across Europe.
We will also continue to ensure that our industry’s priorities are heard by key policymakers and stakeholders in the UK and across EU. So far this year, I have been on delegations to Germany and Italy, where I met with European and German regulators in Berlin and Frankfurt, and senior government contacts in Rome. I also spoke at the UK FinTech Mission event in Austria where the focus was on business opportunities for UK FinTech companies in Austria and Switzerland.
Against this political backdrop, we have started 2020 strongly, including successfully launching two agenda-setting reports. Firstly, the latest International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) report, prepared in collaboration with Linklaters: ‘The architecture for regulating finance after Brexit: Phase II', which focuses on changes to enhance the UK’s financial regulatory architecture beyond Brexit. Secondly, the final report of the 'Financial Services Skills Taskforce', chaired by Mark Hoban and convened by TheCityUK with support from EY and the City of London Corporation, which sets out the actions that need to be taken to tackle the skills and talent crisis facing UK financial services. I’m pleased to say that both reports were extremely well received, generating strong member and stakeholder interest and securing widespread media coverage. We will continue to drive forward the recommendations from both reports over the coming months.
Our international activity continues to gather pace. Work has been ongoing to help shape a future UK-Switzerland trade and investment agreement, working with Economiesuisse to develop policy approaches and overarching principles to deepen institutional, regulatory and supervisory cooperation. We are in the final stages of delivering a British Embassy-funded corporate governance project in Russia to exchange ideas and best practices on regulatory approaches to governance issues– the project will conclude later this month. We are also leading on a British Embassy-funded project on FinTech, exploring how regulators can support the development of FinTech hubs and help FinTech companies scale up.
Registration is now open for this year’s TheCityUK Annual Conference, which will be held in London at the QEII Conference Centre on 9 June. The event will bring together industry leaders, senior practitioners, policymakers, media and other stakeholders to hear insights from keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking. We saw record attendance at last year’s event, so register your interest early and put the date in your diary.
As many of you will know, 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of TheCityUK. A lot has changed in the industry over the past decade and great strides have been made to keep pace with technological transformation, innovation and changing customer expectation. I have no doubt the coming decade will be equally transformative and full of change, innovation and undoubtedly unpredictability. You can read a piece that I wrote for City A.M. at the start of the year that considers these themes. The full blog is available here.
The new strategy we are currently implementing will help ensure we remain agile in our response to these changes and are continuing to focus on the issues that are most important to our members and the wider industry. As previously noted, a central part of this strategy is our commitment to working more closely with the City of London Corporation and I’m pleased to say that the first meeting of the Coordinating Body, which underpins the exciting new working relationship between our organisations, took place at the end of last month.