Long-term competitiveness outcomes and activity

Ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the UK as world-leading international financial centre has remained a core pillar of our work. The government’s reform agenda is a critical part of that, and we’ve been very engaged to ensure that industry priorities have been reflected, securing a series of key policy outcomes for members.

An update on our recent long-term competitiveness work

Set out the industry’s priorities for growth and underlined its enabling role across the economy in our ‘Six-point plan for growth’, published following the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister. This plan, which focused on how industry can work with government and the regulators to drive economic growth and UK competitiveness, has formed the basis of other HMT submissions, including priorities for the Spring Budget and Autumn Statement.

Delivered a sustained and successful campaign on the Financial Services and Markets Act with clear priorities to ensure that the new secondary objective for growth and competitiveness was preserved and that regulatory performance was improved through greater regulatory accountability, transparency and scrutiny, with appropriate measures to track this over time. The campaign on this historic and important piece of legislation included a continued period of engagement with members, government, the opposition and senior stakeholders during its passage through parliament. Our objectives were realised, with the Bill being significantly amended to enable more robust regulatory reporting and enhanced powers for government and parliament to hold the regulators to account. Government also responded to our recommendation to formalise the process of creating KPIs for the FCA and PRA by launching a ‘call for proposals’ inviting feedback from industry. Overall, these successes represent a great outcome for our industry.

"I pay tribute to Miles Celic at TheCityUK [and others]... They were instrumental in the constructive dialogue with Treasury officials to ensure that the policy that we arrived at [in the Financial Services and Markets Bill] met the needs of this complex industry..."

Rt Hon John Glen MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Financial Services and Markets Bill 2nd reading debate, House of Commons

Successfully campaigned to change the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS) in the National Security Bill by leading a coalition of members and industry partners to coordinate our response.
Amendments were passed to scale back the FIRS, a major change in policy, which overturned previous amendments introduced to the Bill by the government in late 2022. These amendments would have placed
onerous restrictions on non-UK entities and would ultimately have disincentivised investment in the UK. Following Royal Ascent, the Home Office will convene expert panels to look at guidance, particularly to define ‘relevant activity’. We were invited to take part in those panels and it is currently expected that the FIRS will come into force in 2024 at the earliest.

Delivered our best-ever-attended Annual Conference in London focused on the industry’s role in driving growth and competitiveness. Sponsored by Citadel Securities and DLA Piper, we welcomed more than 350 delegates and a fantastic line-up of speakers, including EST Andrew Griffith MP; Shadow EST Tulip Siddiq MP; Executive Director of Consumers and Competition at the FCA Sheldon Mills; and our Leadership Council Chair Bruce Carnegie-Brown. We also held a series of engaging panel discussions with senior practitioners and stakeholders on key industry issues. Bloomberg Radio broadcast live from the event during the morning, interviewing keynotes, streaming the first panel live on air and promoting the event in the lead up. Media coverage from the event was very good and broad, driven by both the panels and speeches.

"TheCityUK has great convening power across financial and {related} professional services and is increasingly effective at representing its members with government, opposition and other agencies."

TheCityUK member

Continued to deliver impact through our Legal Services Group, chaired by James Palmer of Herbert Smith Freehills, across a range of key issues including work on the changes to the FIRS for our industry and responding to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on the UK’s ratification of the Hague Convention. We have worked in collaboration with our members and other industry trade associations to help improve the implementation of the UK’s sanctions on Russia and to address industry concerns about the Retained EU Law Act.

Pressed the importance of maintaining the international competitiveness of English law and the UK’s legal sector. We engaged with many of the UK government’s ambassadors, trade commissioners and trade envoys to discuss how to promote UK legal services overseas, including at an event co-hosted with the Ministry of Justice and Slaughter and May. Our annual ‘Legal Excellence, internationally renowned’ report generated strong engagement from government and targeted media coverage. We continue to strengthen engagement with senior ministers and legal services stakeholders, including with the Lord Chancellor, the Minister for Legal Services, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice, and Chief Executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Identified recommendations for improving regulatory efficiency in our report ‘Improving regulatory efficiency on authorisations’. The report highlighted the potential long-term impact on UK competitiveness when regulatory financial authorisations are slow, inefficient and unpredictable. Senior representatives from the FCA, PRA and member firms joined the launch event for a productive discussion on areas where industry and regulators could work together to improve efficiency. The report was also well received by Andrew Griffith MP, noted in debates on the Financial Services and Markets Act in the Lords, and generated widespread media coverage.

"TheCityUK does excellent work in representing the interests of the UK-based financial and related professional services industry, and I am grateful for their insight and collaboration as Shadow Economic Secretary. In particular, their work on the Financial Services & Markets Act was incredibly valuable and I appreciated their efforts to drive cross-party consensus on key issues like competitiveness and regulatory accountability."

Tulip Siddiq MP, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Engaged extensively with HMT, regulators and members through the IRSG, in collaboration with the City of London Corporation, to inform and influence the approach to building a new ‘Smarter regulatory framework’ for financial services, to replace repealed EU rules. We established a cross-industry group of experts and held multiple group meetings with Treasury and regulators, to inform and respond to Treasury publications as part of the December 2022 ‘Edinburgh Reforms’ and the July 2023 ‘Mansion House Reforms’.