Trade body claims bonfire of rules not needed

Trade body claims bonfire of rules not needed

UK Finance has claimed the government, regulators and finance industry must come together to ensure the UK can adapt and maintain its status as a leading global financial centre.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of mortgage lending and banking trade body UK Finance called for the UK to offer an ambitious, 21st century trade deal to underpin a service-based economy – especially with the onset of Brexit.

Speaking at the annual dinner at Mansion House in London last night (13 September), he said: “We need to secure a renewed mandate for the UK to continue as one of the leading global financial centres.

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"Government, regulators, and our member firms need to work together to maintain the UK as the strongest financial centre in Europe and within Europe’s individual markets.”

He added that strong regulation is a core component needed to renew the UK’s mandate in a bid to attract international trade and business.

He said: “We do not desire or need a bonfire of regulations – a frequent concern of our European partners that we must allay.

 “Confidence in safety and soundness, in high standards of conduct, is a strength. Nobody knowingly flies a plane operated by a light touch ground crew.”

He added that UK Finance is assisting the government with developing a cross-border services agreement, which offers a detailed framework to ensure the UK is a global free trade player.

He said: “We will need a genuinely ambitious 21st century trade deal that reflects the needs of a modern, service-based economy.

"The UK has a unique opportunity to be the trailblazer in this space – and there is a national need that we do it well."

He added that the financial services industry must recognise its obligation to act in the interests of wider society and that the sector needs to renew its commitment to British business in order to rebuild trust.

He said: “A good services agreement requires regulatory diplomacy and mutual trust between regulators to build a truly global financial services market. 

"We have a collective responsibility to act proactively to ensure no one is left behind by the system. 

“And we must address situations where the market is not working well for consumers, for example where consumers use credit products inappropriately resulting in problematic debt. 

“We cannot expect the interests of the UK as a global financial centre to be acknowledged and prioritised by government and regulators, or welcomed by wider society, if we appear unwilling or unable to put right the wrongs of the past.”

He also went on to say that winning fight against financial crime will be another key element of future success.

Mel Kenny, chartered financial planner at London-based Radcliffe & Newlands, agreed that there are still many avenues that the UK can take to ensure it remains a leading global financial centre.