Top stories

  1. Brexit deal may be in sight
  2. UK Finance holds Annual Mortgage Conference
  3. Prime Minister creates new business advisory councils

Stat of the day

1.4 per cent – the decrease in house prices for September, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

Brexit deal may be in sight

A leaked memo seen by the BBC suggests that the government wants a Brexit agreement by the end of the month and is preparing a three-week timeline to sell a Brexit deal to the public, ahead of a proposed parliamentary vote on a deal on the 27th of November, according to the Daily Telegraph (£, p1). The prime minister’s office has dismissed the report, claiming “it doesn’t represent the government’s thinking” (Reuters).

However, the Financial Times (£, p3) reports that Theresa May has ordered her ministers to push for a Brexit deal this week, while instructing attorney-general Geoffrey Cox to find a legal resolution to the outstanding issue of the Irish backstop. The Guardian (p14) adds a backstop agreement may be reached later this week, with government sources suggesting ministers could be summoned for an emergency meeting to sign off any agreement.

The Times (£, p6) notes that the prime minister has been boosted by comments from Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who said yesterday that Dublin was open to an “independent mechanism” proposed by Theresa May, which would allow Britain to end a temporary customs arrangement with the EU in the future. Despite these reported developments, city leaders have expressed concerns that a proposed future trading and regulatory regime for financial services may be inadequate, according to the Financial Times (£, online only).

UK Finance holds Annual Mortgage Conference

Yesterday saw UK Finance’s Annual Mortgage Conference take placegathering 200 delegates from across the mortgage industry to discuss the latest regulation, trends and issues facing the sector.

UK Finance’s Director of Mortgages, Jackie Bennett, opened the conference with a speechhighlighting the strength of the mortgage market and the work UK Finance and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) do to continue to improve the sector.

The keynote address was given by Christopher Woolard, Executive Director for Strategy and Competition and Board Member at the FCA. The Financial Times (£, p2) reports on comments made by Woolard in his address, who suggested an expansion of powers for the FCA to help “mortgage prisoners” – those customers who are locked into high interest mortgages and due to strict affordability criteria, are unable to switch to a better deal. Woolard said: “I want to see an answer in the unauthorised space. If need be, we will also discuss with government whether a change in our regulatory perimeter or any other government support is needed to protect those customers where mortgages are transferred to the unregulated sector.”

Woolard’s comments follows work by UK Finance and the FCA in July 2018, which saw 67 authorised lenders representing 95 per cent of the UK’s residential mortgage market agree common standards to help existing borrowers who are up-to-date on repayments but cannot switch deals.

Prime Minister creates new business advisory councils

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a new strategy to improve relations with corporate Britain, by establishing five business advisory councils that represent stakeholders from the consumer, industry, SME, services and technology fields, reports the Financial Times (£, p2). The aim of the councils is to give “regular, high level advice and policy recommendations” to the government, reports BBC News. Paul Manduca, Chair of Prudential, and Shriti Vadera, Chairman of Santander UK, will co-chair the Services Financial, Professional and Education Services Council.

Commenting on this announcement, Stephen Jones, CEO of UK Finance, said:

The UK’s role as one of the world’s leading exporters of financial services is central to our economy, generating jobs right across the country. The formation of the Financial, Professional and Education Services Council is an important recognition of the crucial part this sector plays in supporting investment and the wider economy. UK Finance will continue to work closely with the government to ensure the UK is the best place in the world to run and grow a business post March 2019.”

Latest from UK Finance

In today’s blog, Ian Burgess, Principal, Technology and Digital Policy Delivery, explores promoting a more cyber resilient culture across financial services.

News in Brief

The government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has written to mobile carriers urging them to carefully consider which suppliers they use when building their 5g networks, citing security concerns (Financial Times, £, p1).

Growth in the eurozone’s manufacturing sector reached its lowest level in nearly four years, according to the IHS Markit Eurozone PMI figures (CityAM, p12).

France’s economy minister Bruno Le Maire told the Financial Times (£, p4) that the EU will not allow the US to be the world’s “trade policeman”, pledging to go against reimposed sanctions on Iran via a “special financial channel”. Justine Walker, Head of Sanctions Policy at UK Finance discusses this in a May blog post.

Leave.EU backer Arron Banks has been fined £135,000 by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) after a report found that Banks had shared customer data from his insurance companies with Leave.EU for political campaigning purposes (City AM, p3).

What the commentators say

Writing in the Daily Mail (p61), city editor Alex Brummer says that the adaption of British business into the digital space “knows no bounds”. Citing such successes as Deliveroo and Purplebricks, Brummer argues that many traditional businesses are having to sharply cut traditional jobs to make space for their new digital workforces.

Omar Ali, head of UK financial services at EY, writes in The Telegraph (B2, £) that it is time to put financial services “front and centre”. Ali says a good deal for the sector is vital as it employs 2 million people, generated a trade surplus of £68bn last year and pays more tax than any other in the UK. He also warns of growing concern amongst the industry and cites the EY Brexit Tracker which shows 77 leading financial services firms have already confirmed they are moving operations of staff to elsewhere in Europe.

Calendar

  • HMT publishes Finance Bill 2018-19
  • The Financial Ombudsman Service publishes the latest complaint data
  • Confederation of British Industry (CBI) publishes SME Trends Survey
  • Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer visits Brussels to discuss dangers of ‘blind Brexit’

For a full list of upcoming UK Finance statistics releases, please click here.

News in brief – 7 November 2018