Chief Executive Newsletter - February 2024

This month we published UK Finance’s 2024 Business Plan. This sets out our advocacy and policy priorities for the year ahead and includes our mission to Build a Better Society.

Supporting consumers and businesses

In advance of the chancellor’s Spring Budget taking place next week, we published our Budget Submission that includes measures we believe will help the UK achieve continued growth and prosperity. These focus on three specific areas:

  • Encouraging business and retail investment
  • Enable a thriving housing market for homeowners and renters
  • Forge a pathway to net zero by 2050, aligned with a just transition

Delivering a high growth economy

Our Managing Director of Corporate Affairs and Strategic Policy, Sarah Boon, and Director of International Affairs, Angus Canvin, were in Ghent to attend this year’s Eurofi Financial Forum. There, several bilateral meetings took place with a range of financial services policymakers and stakeholders. The topics of discussion ranged from the latest EU and international financial services developments to the UK’s regulatory reform agenda in financial services. This included the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the IMF Europe Office, the Austrian Ministry of Finance, and the Spanish National Securities Market Commission (CNMV).

Preventing economic crime

The government’s new fraud awareness campaign, Stop! Think Fraud launched earlier this month. This compliments our longstanding Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and is a positive development in tackling fraud. At our most recent Board meeting, members noted Take Five’s excellent recognition and reputation and supported the decision to continue Take Five while aligning it with the government campaign.

Transitioning to net zero

We are expanding our political and regulatory advocacy on sustainability policy as the UK General Election approaches. In late Jan-Feb, this included in-person engagement at ministerial/shadow ministerial level with both major parties, landing our asks for clearer policies to support the delivery of our Net Zero objectives, including in greening the UK housing stock. These asks featured strongly in our submissions to the Labour manifesto and the Spring Budget. In regulation, we provided constructive input to clarify FCA guidance to combat greenwashing and engaged members to build understanding of the FCA’s anti-greenwashing rule and sustainability disclosure requirements. This included a webinar with our Associate Member BDO and over 100 attendees, as well as presentations to member committees.

We continued our collaboration with US NGO the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), to help members share best practice in financing the decarbonisation of high-emitting sectors. After a successful joint event at COP28, we held a workshop for members of our UK Finance-RMI Transition Finance Alignment Forum, hosted by Natwest. Meanwhile, we are working closely with members to provide insights to the FCA, Government and Bank of England on what good Net Zero transition planning requirements should look like.

Enabling digital innovation  

This month we responded to the Payments Systems Regulator’s Cross Border Card Interchange Fees interim report. In this we called for more focus on the value that cards bring to consumers and businesses and that our policy approach should not just be focussing on merchant costs. The full consultation report can be found on our website.

Upcoming events  

  • Our flagship event, the Economic Crime Congress, returns in June. Highlighting the harms and impact of economic crime as well as discussions on what needs to be done to build a better society and community, domestically and globally. Early bird tickets are now available to purchase.
  • In March our inaugural M&A conference takes place. discuss the future of mergers and acquisitions and navigate the challenges impacting cross-border transactions.
  • Looking ahead to April our Vulnerability Academy will begin. This shares insight on the difference between economic and financial abuse, the experiences of victim survivors and what organisations are doing to help.
  • The Annual Mortgage Conference is making its comeback as a live event in 2024, taking place on 25 April. This event features a full agenda of discussion panels and presentations on key topics affecting the industry and the mortgage market.

Our Learning Hub, powered by The Access Group, offers targeted training courses to help financial services organisations maintain and evidence regulatory compliance whilst developing a culture of continuous professional development.

Information of all networking events, conferences, and training opportunities can be found on our website or register your interest in future events via our online form.

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