The City of London is heading for a bright future

This evening, the City of London Corporation is hosting a London Business School seminar to discuss &ldquo;The Future of the City of London.&rdquo; As the dust from the financial crisis starts to settle and policy makers begin planning for the future, now is the perfect time to be discussing how the City should position itself if it is to prosper in years to come. <br /><br />Sir David Walker&rsquo;s government-commissioned review into corporate governance was described by Alistair Darling as a &ldquo;blueprint for how banks must be run&rdquo;. With many of these proposals likely to be imported directly into a wider review of corporate governance, due for publication this week, we are beginning to get a clearer picture of how the UK financial services industry is to be regulated going forward. Walker&rsquo;s proposals are a welcome contribution to a debate that requires urgent attention, but, as ever, the devil will be in the detail &ndash; we must be careful not to cut ourselves adrift from our international competitors.<br /><br />We must also remember the City is about much more than banking &ndash; our broader professional services sector and deep pools of world class talent are the envy of financial centres the world over. <br /><br />And yet, even now, there are clear signs that this country is becoming a less attractive place for the world&rsquo;s leading business brains to live and work &ndash; the introduction of the 50 per cent income tax rate next year will leave us joint seventh for marginal income tax rates amongst the OECD countries. <br />That is why, in the pre-Budget report on 9 December, I am hoping to see sensible measures that properly reflect the importance of the financial services sector to the UK economy and to society in general. <br /><br />There is no doubt we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves as the global economy starts to recover but we must first make sure the UK is both open for business and open to business. We need to get this right. Firms based in the UK must be able to operate with confidence, in a business environment underpinned by legislative and regulatory certainty. We cannot allow short-term, political considerations to continually shift the goal-posts, beholden to the prevailing winds of public opinion.<br /><br />The City of London&rsquo;s success and worldwide reputation for excellence has only been achieved by responding to the economic, political and regulatory challenges that are our constant challenge.<br /><br />Make no mistake, if we fail to create a business environment that allows firms based in the UK to compete in this increasingly global, and increasingly competitive, marketplace, there are other places in the world that will be only too happy to welcome them with open arms.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m passionate about the City&rsquo;s future &ndash; I&rsquo;ll promote it, challenge it and support it and, with the support of the government, the industry and the public, we can make it happen. <br /><br />Nick Anstee is Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation.