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Speech: Financial Secretary To The Treasury: Cityweek Speech


Financial Secretary to the Treasury on the global role of the UK's international financial services industry post-reform


Published on 31 March 2014



by Sajid Javid MP

(WireNews)

London, England

Sajid Javid MP
Sajid Javid MP

I was very pleased to be invited to come and speak to you this morning.

The title the organisers have asked me to speak on, is the global role of the UK’s international financial services industry post-reform.

And – I have to say – I think that’s a fairly good title.

Because it’s true that the last four years have been a period during which this City has had a lot of new regulation.

And new legislation.

To get to grips with.

And I’d like to spend some time with you this morning running through why those changes needed to be made.

What those changes were.

And what opportunities I see arising from them.

But – with no disrespect intended to the organisers…

Who have made me feel very welcome!

I’d like to spend a little of my time with you.

Taking issue with the title I’ve been given.

Because I don’t think this City – or any great international financial centre for that matter – will ever be ‘post-reform’.

I believe that the reason London has consistently – and constantly – been viewed as one of the world’s great financial centres has been precisely because it never stopped reforming…

And precisely because it never stopped adapting to keep pace with global changes…

Or technological advances…

Or political developments.

And when I think of London as a financial centre…

I think of a city that always adapted and reformed and led the way.

Whether that be organising the first market for global trading insurance hundreds of years ago.

Or developing the Eurodollar markets in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

And I’m sure there will be plenty more challenges this city will have to amend and adapt to and reform around in the future.

But before that let’s start by looking at the reforms that have already happened under this government’s watch.

Now, as far as we’re concerned…

And as far as the public that we’re elected to represent are concerned the reforms of the last five years had to happen.

The financial crisis had an impact on almost every single household in this country…

And governments and regulators had to take bold decisions and carry out ambitious reforms to ensure that such mistakes weren’t repeated.

The public reaction to those events – rightly or wrongly – has been one of deep suspicion of anyone associated with the financial services.

In fact, when I arrived for my first day as an MP three years ago, after twenty years in banking myself, I had the unique sensation, a sensation that none of the rest of the intake shared, that I was moving into a more popular profession!

Now, I’ve always made clear both at events like this – and in the House of Commons…

That yes – the crash came about because of some very irresponsible behaviour by some individuals in the financial sector.

But it also came about because the regulatory system under which it operated wasn’t fit for purpose.

We needed to take action on both.

And I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that here in the UK, our government has been right at the forefront of the reforms that were needed.

Since coming to office, we’ve carried out 2 major pieces of domestic legislation.

First, the Financial Service Act, which has reformed our regulatory framework with the aim of delivering stability and supporting competiveness.

And second, the Banking Reform Act through which we’re aiming to ensure that – in the future – no banks will be deemed too-big-to-fail.

And on top of those major pieces of legislation we’re also introducing measures to ensure that culture and standards in UK banking are the highest in the world. So we’re:

  • legislating, so that reckless misconduct by senior bankers that leads to bank failure is a criminal offence
  • and introducing a tough new regime to govern the behaviour of senior managers

These are reforms that should go a long way towards making our financial services sector more stable, more resilient, and more trusted by the wider public.

But it is an international business environment…

We know that it’s not enough to simply look at our own regulatory system.

We need to engage in – and occasionally lead the way in – international discussions too.

In Europe we’ve consistently argued for reforms that help to deliver a level playing field and support the single market in financial services.

  • it was with that goal in mind that we pushed for full implementation of Basel III through CRD IV…
  • it was with that goal in mind that we were strong advocates for the Bank Resolution and Recovery Directive…
  • and it was with that goal in mind that we welcomed the Commission’s decision to bring forward a proposal on bank structural reform.

Ultimately, what we want to see is a financial sector in the UK – and the EU – that is competitive and growing…

But we’ve always been clear that if we want to deliver that it has to be based on tough and robust implementation of international standards…

And – as such – we will continue to pursue that goal too.

In international fora, like the G20, the FSB, Basel and IOSCO, the UK has been a very active participant…

And we’ve been a key advocate for all the global initiatives aimed at making our financial services sector safer, more resilient and better able to play its role supporting the real economy.

Governments and regulators all over the world have made great progress since the Pittsburgh Summit…

And we’ve laid the foundations to global co-operation that should help:

  • strengthen economic growth;
  • and deal with the fall-out from the financial crisis;

But – again – our work is far from done.

More reform – more action – will have to come…

And I’d like to spend the rest of my time with you focussing on what…

In this so-called post-reform environment…

I see as the key challenges – and possible key reforms – to follow.

On an international level…

First – under the leadership of Governor Carney…

We have to persevere and complete the remaining core elements of the FSB reforms during the Australian G20 Presidency.

I see there’s a session on that very subject this afternoon…

And I’ll be interested to hear what the panel have to say on that.

And second, we have to work hard to ensure that the agreements reached at G20 are implemented consistently and coherently all around the world.

This will require continued political commitment from G20 leaders…

And it will require too, detailed international and bilateral co-operation amongst member states.

And there are real opportunities on the horizon to achieve just that.

As many of you will know, one of the European Commission’s priority goals…

Is to seek stronger and more formal regulatory cooperation between Europe and the US through a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership…

Again, this is something you’ve got a session on later today…

And again, this is a goal that we’re throwing our full weight behind.

Not just because of the impact it could have on households across the UK…

But also because…

As the hosts to the world’s two largest financial centres…

There is a premium to the EU and the US having consistent financial regulation and open markets.

Therefore, the proposed partnership has the potential both to promote more consistent and higher international standards…

And to enhance trade and investment for the global economy.

Domestically too, we need to keep alert to opportunities for our financial services industry.

As some of you will know…

Just over a year ago…

The Chancellor announced the creation of the Financial Services Trade and Investment Board…

Which is a strategic body – chaired by HM Treasury – that brings together Government departments and industry…

  • to attract inward investment
  • to promote external trade
  • and to remove barriers to our financial services industry

And today we’re publishing the board’s annual progress report.

It shows – which is always reassuring for a progress report! – that we are making progress.

Over its first year, the board – which contains a stellar cast of members – has been fully established…

And it has identified an ambitious set of priorities…

Against which we’re already making inroads.

On our Investment Management Strategy…

We’ve made the UK one of the most competitive places for asset management business and fund domicile…

And we’re in the midst of a global campaign to market the UK and offer support for asset managers and funds wishing to set up in the UK.

But again – there is more work to do…

We want to make the United Kingdom the Western Hub for Islamic Financial Services…

So in the forthcoming financial year the government is due to issue £200 million of sovereign sukuk…

And we’ve also announced:

  • the establishment of a new Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group which had its first meeting in London last week
  • the creation of an Islamic index at the London Stock Exchange
  • the introduction of two new financial products - Islamic student and start-up loans
  • and we’ve also amended the rules for the government’s Help to Buy scheme…

So that providers of Home Purchase Plans – which are a Sharia’a compliant alternative to a mortgage – can benefit too.

But – as I said earlier – we need to remain alert to other emerging market opportunities…

And other global financial trends…

Because this City should serve the entire global economy.

The past year has seen the RMB continue its march to becoming a major global currency…

Rapidly rising through the ranks as a payment currency…

And even overtaking the Euro for trade finance…

So we’ve taken steps to ensure that London is at the centre of this market…

By making this city the first place outside Mainland China and Hong Kong where you can make direct investment in RMB into Chinese securities.

In fact, just today the Bank of England and the People’s Bank of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on clearing and settlement arrangements, paving the way for a London RMB clearing bank.

And on insurance we set out an action plan of measures…

To strengthen the insurance sector’s contribution to the UK economy and the UK’s position as a global leader in insurance –

And this action plan is making a difference.

On Friday, Brit, the international insurance group, announced, as part of their IPO on the London Stock Exchange…

That they are moving the Group’s headquarters to London.

This is excellent news and is proof that the government’s plans are on the right track.

So, I think it’s fair to say that the achievements made since my predecessor – Greg Clark – stood here last year…

Are a real testimony to the strength and impact that a joint government and industry partnership can deliver.

But at this event next year – whether it’s me that’s stood here…

Or a new Financial Secretary…

They will probably be launching the second annual report of the FSTIB…

And I can almost certainly pre-empt what it will say.

It will – I hope – list the successes of our work with the insurance industry…

And our work with the Islamic finance initiative…

Our work on the RMB…

But it will also say – as it does this year – that we must go further.

That we must deliver more.

And that we must be wary of new risks and new challenges on the horizon.

So yes, we have made reforms.

And I’m confident they will be successful.

And they will present new opportunities for people in your sector to create jobs, and to create growth…

But the very best cities…

The very best places to do business…

Are the cities that never sleep.

The cities that – rather than lying down and letting the world wash over them…

Stand up - stay alert – and lead the way for the world to follow.

That’s what London always has done…

And I’ll look forward to working with you to make sure London does just that in future.

Thank you.


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Posted 2014-03-31 13:50:00