City unveils new body to promote UK

SOME of the City&rsquo;s most senior figures are to join forces on a new unified body aimed at representing the interests of the UK financial services industry on a domestic and international stage.<br /><br />Stuart Popham, senior partner at law firm Clifford Chance, will chair the organisation, to be called TheCityUK. John Ingamells, a former political secretary to the British embassy in Seoul and director of public affairs at Fidelity International, will lead the body as director.<br /><br />City luminaries such as Lloyd&rsquo;s of London chairman Lord Levene, Prudential chairman Harvey McGrath, LIFFE chairman Andre Villeneuve and JP Morgan Europe chairman Mark Garvin were all part of the original steering group for the organisation and are likely to continue in roles either on its board or advisory committee, formed from up to 100 senior industry figures from every sector.<br /><br />The City UK will have three main remits: to promote the UK financial services industry globally, to encourage more understanding of the sector among a domestic audience, and to work with the government to shape future EU and global regulation.<br /><br />It will initially be funded by the City of London Corporation, but founders are hoping to secure the support of individual firms via membership with an annual fee.<br /><br />Ingamells said there was a clear call for the industry to improve the way it promotes itself domestically to the British public, particularly in the wake of the intense row over bonuses.<br /><br />&ldquo;It has obviously been very damaging, but it means improving understanding of what the industry does is all the more important,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It will be a long, difficult process, but it&rsquo;s a challenge we&rsquo;re prepared to take on.&rdquo;<br /><br />The City UK has been established to meet recommendations set out in the Bischoff and Wigley reports, themselves designed to address problems with the City&rsquo;s competitiveness.