Miles Celic's blog - February 2021

I hope you and your families continue to keep safe and well in this latest lockdown. The New Year has seen activity across the breadth of our programme continue at pace, with good progress being made in key areas. We also remain very focused on the health and wellbeing of our employees as we approach nearly a year of remote working.

Following the down to the wire conclusion of negotiations between the UK and the EU at the end of last year, we have been busy making the industry’s views clear in numerous media outlets, including the likes of the BBC, Financial Times, The Times, Sky News, CNN, Bloomberg and Channel 4 News among others, to make clear that the agreement should be seen as a foundation from which to build, rather than a ceiling to future ambition. We issued a paper setting out the key unresolved and outstanding issues that need prioritising for our industry which generated further headlines, and we continue to push these in discussions with government and the EU.  

We continue to keep a close eye on the political landscape in the US following the inauguration of President Biden. We will be hosting a panel discussion on the new presidency later this month to consider the President’s policy agenda and its implications for the economy, trade and our industry.

Our work to support the progression of bilateral trade agreements and partnerships is making good headway, as is activity to support developing international financial centres (IFC). On the latter we have begun a project funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to work with the Uzbekistan Capital Markets Development Agency (CMDA) on developing an IFC in Tashkent. This includes a series of sessions for UK experts to advise Uzbek policymakers on how to develop their financial regulation and capital markets to international standards. We continue to partner with the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) in Kazakhstan and are progressing a project to develop their green finance strategy and advise on the centre’s new green taxonomy. Our long-standing project with Russia to develop FinTech cooperation and boost UK FinTech presence in the Russian market also continues to make good progress.

We are working closely with members and government to set out thinking about the future of the industry and how to ensure the UK’s world-leading status as an IFC. As part of this we are preparing to submit responses to HM Treasury’s Future Regulatory Framework Review and discussing with Lord Hill the listings review he is leading. I am also pleased to announce that our Long-Term Competitiveness Group will shortly launch, chaired by Omar Ali, EMEIA Financial Services Client Services Managing Partner, EY. This senior committee will govern our work on future competitiveness issues, which will naturally be a major priority over the year.

I am also delighted that we have been joined by Nicola Watkinson as our new Managing Director, International Trade and Investment. She was previously General Manager, The Americas, at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission and the Australian Deputy Consul General in New York. Nicola brings extensive trade and investment and policy experience to the organisation. I know she is looking forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks and months.

As ever, this is 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.