Chief Executive Newsletter - March 2024

This month marked International Women’s Day.

We celebrated with colleagues from across UK Finance sharing their thoughts on the 2024 theme #InspireInclusion in this short video. We also congratulated; Jackie Barodekar, Natalie Ribeiro and Sarah Boon who were named as ‘Women in Trade Associations 2024 Power List’, a list of the year’s most inspirational women working in Trade Associations.

Supporting consumers and businesses 

Our quarterly Business Finance Review has been published providing an analysis of how the finance needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are being supported through lending from mainstream lenders and specialised finance providers and looks at their deposit holdings. The latest figures include; gross lending, loan and overdraft approvals, SME deposits and much more.   

March marked #DebtAwarenessWeek a campaign run by StepChange Debt Charity to raise awareness of debt issues, and the help and advice available to deal with them. Our Managing Director of Personal Finance, Eric Leenders, highlighted support available for anyone struggling with credit card or loan repayments in this Independent article.  

Delivering a high growth economy 

This month we published our latest Card Spending update highlighting figures for December 2023. These cover the monthly value and volume of transactions across debit and credit cards, both in the UK, and of UK-issued cards across the world. This data also covers outstanding balances on credit cards, card issuance and contactless payments.  

We also held our inaugural Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) conference. Key stakeholders from across the industry explored the latest trends and challenges facing M&A dealmakers, gave insights on national security and merger control regulation and debated evolving shareholder engagement dynamics. For more information, see posts from our Managing Director, Capital Markets and Wholesale Policy, Conor Lawlor, Director, Primary Markets and Corporate Finance, Julie Shacklady, Principal, Capital Markets and Wholesale Policy, Avanthi Weerasinghe and Analyst, Capital Markets and Wholesale Policy Ali Campbell

Preventing economic crime 

This month the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign launched their new campaign activity: ‘The Stop Muscle’ – our ability to stop, think and Take Five when we are asked for our personal or financial information. When it comes to fraud, social media is now a key route that criminals use to target people. But it is the act of stopping that remains one of our most powerful defences against scams. Read our latest blog to find out more about our new TikTok channel, our Augmented Reality (AR) filter and why we’re encouraging people to train their ‘Stop Muscle’ to protect themselves from fraud. 

Transitioning to net zero 

As part of our ongoing UK General Election advocacy, we met with senior Labour and Conservative MPs and special advisors, making the case to support the retrofit of homes regardless of the make-up of the new government. Our Sustainability Committee had its first quarterly meeting of the year and agreed a busy programme of government and regulator engagement for the coming months. Through this work, we are building the case for warmer, more sustainable homes for all.  

In regulatory developments, we submitted sector views on new Basel Committee proposals for climate risk reporting, calling on the Committee to align more closely with international reporting standards. We also fed into the government’s Transition Finance Market Review, to support efforts to make the UK a leading financial centre for financing the decarbonisation of high-emitting sectors. We hosted a discussion with the FCA to inform upcoming proposals on an ESG labelling regime for portfolio management products.  

Enabling digital innovation   

We co-hosted a roundtable with the Norwegian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs where the latest UK financial services developments were discussed. Co-Chaired by Bob Wigley and Eigil Knutsen MP, we spoke about the UK’s regulatory reform agenda, sustainable finance, and the role of AI in financial services and the UK’s approach to AI regulation. 

Upcoming events  

Our Vulnerability Academy begins on 11 April. Attendees will learn how to protect vulnerable consumers and translate the FCA’s expectations into reality. 

The Annual Mortgage Conference is back as a live event on Thursday 25 April. This event features discussion panels and presentations on key topics affecting the industry such as current market conditions and digitisation of home buying and selling. 

On 2 May, the UK Finance Spring Sanctions Conference will provide an update on key sanctions policy priorities and identify important updates businesses need to be aware of. 

The Annual Commercial Finance Conference will return as an in-person event on 14 May, hosted by EY at their Canary Wharf office. 

Our flagship event, the Economic Crime Congress takes place on 20 June. Expert speakers will discuss the most pressing issues affecting the industry. Early bird tickets are available for a limited time only.  

The UK Finance Learning Hub hosts the IF/ABL interactive courses to help grow and develop your knowledge in the industry. 

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

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