Key achievements 2022: International trade and investment

The key objective in our international programme of work is to make the UK the leading International Financial Centre (IFC) by 2026. We have a five year strategy, now in its second year, to reach this goal. Working with New Financial, the City of London Corporation and our International Trade and Investment Group, chaired by Edward Braham of M&G, we implemented a clear and objective way to track progress using quantitative metrics to show how the UK is performing compared to other IFCs and backed this up with our annual ‘Key facts about the UK as an international financial centre 2022’ report.

Sanctions and Ukraine

We coordinated the working group of Trade Associations to share information on developments with our members and brief officials on impacts and emerging issues. We are now working with HMG on early reconstruction efforts for Ukraine.

Swiss Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Mobility Agreement

Through our Swiss Market Advisory Group we acted at the key consultation point for negotiations around the MRA and FTA holding detailed workshops on topics such as investment services, insurance, mobility and mutual recognition of qualifications and the links between the two agreements. Our advocacy helped secure a rollover of the Swiss Mobility Agreement.

International Conference

Over 300 participants from the UK and international financial and related professional services ecosystem joined our hybrid conference looking at how to work together to address global issues, including exploring trade and investment megatrends, digital trade, the net-zero transition and global regulatory coherence.

Digital Supply Chains

With over 80% of exports from our industry delivered digitally the rise of data localisation regimes is a critical issue and we produced a report highlighting how data is moved, stored and used by our companies and the dangers of localisation to cybercrime, AML and financial inclusion. We held workshops with DCMS briefing data experts across Whitehall on potential solutions to data localisation, providing business case studies to support their international negotiations.

Strengthening bilateral relationships with growing economies

To maintain open channels of communications and bilateral business cooperation in the absence of the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, we held three forums with Chinese business counterparts focused on capital markets, green finance and carbon markets.

We relaunched our ASEAN Market Advisory Group (MAG) with a specific focus on growing trade and investment with Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. In collaboration with HSBC, we delivered business roundtables to support the 7th annual UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue between HM Treasury and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Through the India-UK Financial Partnership (IUKFP) we advocated for specific outcomes around an international court of arbitration in GIFT City which were announced in the 2022 Union budget. We also lobbied for changes to the reinsurance order of preference and proposed data laws, highlighting the impact these would have on the two-way trade and investment relationship. We helped businesses explore investment opportunities in sustainable infrastructure in India and fed into the FTA negotiations.

We worked with HMT and LSEG to support the inaugural UK-Japan Regulatory Forum by holding a business roundtable to discuss how to strengthen our ties around fintech and transition finance for the drive to net zero.

Supporting high-growth emerging markets

Through our work with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), our members developed practical solutions to foster FinTech ecosystems in Kenya and Azerbaijan. This work is now being extended to other high growth markets. We hosted delegations for South African Infrastructure, Kenyan FinTech, Turkey Green Finance, and Uzbek Digital Payments. Our refreshed Eurasia, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) MAG has been focused on opportunities in Saudi Arabia with a roundtable with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK highlighting how the market is opening to international business.

Putting Europe back in the spotlight

We refreshed our approach to Europe, setting up a Europe MAG, connecting it to the Anglo European FS Dialogues (with Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland) and the IRSG EU regulatory working group to provide clear focus and direction to our work in close partnership with the City of London Corporation. We are representing the industry on the UK Domestic Advisory Group (and helped shape it Rules of Procedure) and the EU-UK Civil Society Forum. Both have shown their relevance to our preparations for the review of the TCA in 2026.

Highlighting the importance of services

Working with partners on the Trade in Services Council and Professional and Business Services Council we have sought to reinforce the importance of the services sector to the UK economy and the need for better support to achieve future growth. We supported the Government’s Trade Advisory Groups, and the Market Access Conference, as well as joining the US-UK Trade Dialogues. Our report ‘Exporting from across Britain’ examines the financial and related professional services exports from each British region and nation.

USA Golden Corridor

We were the first business delegation to head over to the US to rebuild ties with key counterparts and the US administration post-Covid and led another member delegation to Washington in December last year to progress our policy asks and bolster ties in the aftermath of the midterms. We advocated a transatlantic framework for digital assets and drove forward proposals on strengthening the Financial Regulatory Working Group and used this to engage with UK and US policymakers.

Recognising the growth of Islamic Finance

The size and significance of Islamic and ethical finance in the UK was highlighted in the Islamic Finance report, produced in cooperation with DDCAP and Refinitiv. We helped the Department for International Trade prepare supporting collateral highlighting the UK’s expertise in this area and the opportunity for the UK to capture more of this investment to support its transition to net zero.

Mobility matters

Through a focused advocacy campaign we won support for changes to the intra company transfer visa process making it easier for companies to move staff in and out of the UK.