Miles Celic's blog - July 2020

As lockdown measures continue to ease in most parts of the country, I am sure many of you are having discussions about how and when to the return to the office, and also probably whether or not you should take a trip overseas across the summer. Wherever you fall on these, I hope you and your families are keeping safe and well and that you enjoy a little more freedom over the summer. At TheCityUK, we continue to work remotely for now and momentum across the breadth of our activity remains strong.

As mentioned in my previous blog, one of the key pieces of work we’ve been progressing in response to Covid-19 has been addressing the challenge of recapitalising businesses post-crisis – work taken forward by our ‘Recapitalisation Group’ (RCG). Earlier this month we published the final report of the RCG setting out a series of far-reaching options for the converting, restructuring and repaying of Covid-19 loans to help hundreds of thousands of SMEs get back on their feet, save millions of jobs, protect billions of pounds of taxpayer money, and help power Britain’s economic recovery and future growth.

The RCG report was the result of intensive work by over 200 financial experts from 50 firms across the industry, chaired by Leadership Council Chairman Sir Adrian Montague, and supported by EY. Media coverage following the report launch was significant and the response from government, regulators, industry and businesses has been broadly very positive. It has been a truly an incredible effort in unprecedented times – and I am very grateful to everyone who has been engaged in the work so far – in particular EY for all their support. We will continue to engage key stakeholders in Westminster and across the nation over the coming weeks and months.

We are also pushing ahead with work that considers how the industry can best support wider UK economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. We will consult with members and key stakeholders as we progress this work and publish our thinking later in the year.

We continue to progress activity in relation to the UK-EU negotiations, with particular focus on ensuring the UK remains open and retains its position as a leading international financial centre and that high standards and ambitions continue to be set. While our delegations and visits programme remains Zoom-based for the time being, together with the City of London Corporation, we have had good conversations with key stakeholders, dignitaries and officials from Luxembourg, Germany, Italy and France as well as Brussels. We recently submitted a written response to the House of Lords EU Services Sub-Committee inquiry on the future UK-EU relationship on professional and business services.

HMG’s enhanced focus on bilateral trade agreements has driven increased activity across our international work. Among activities being progressed, we recently co-hosted an event with the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), including leading a presentation on sustainable finance We also continue to work closely with global organisations through our active membership of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres. We were also well cited in the report from the House of Commons International Trade Committee following my appearance before their inquiry on the Covid-19 pandemic and international trade, covering key issues such as digital trade and data localisation.

Our virtual events programme has been very busy over recent weeks – thank you to those of you who have been able to join our online policymaker and media roundtables, ‘In conversation with’ events, webinars and report launch. I have been delighted to welcome guests such as Dame Karen Pierce DCMG, British Ambassador to the United States, Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Dr Linda Yueh, and Dr Gerard Lyons, Lord Grimstone, Rt Hon Pat McFadden MP, Tom Tugendhat MP, Antony Phillipson, HM Trade Commissioner for North America and Lord O’Neill of Gatley. Our City Chairs have also been hosting a series of events with regional stakeholders. While we will have a short hiatus over August, we are already preparing a busy programme of events from September onwards.

As ever, this is just a few highlights of work underway. More information on some of our other recent activity 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.

Miles