Wednesday 22 September 2021 4:20 pm City of London Corporation

Lord Mayor calls on financial regulators to focus on innovation and sustainability

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Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, will tonight (22 September) deliver a speech at the City Dinner at The Mansion House to an audience of senior regulators and representatives from across the financial and professional services industry.

Lord Mayor William Russell will speak alongside Sam Woods, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and Chief Executive of the Prudential Regulation Authority, and Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority.

An extract from the Lord Mayor’s speech is found below. Please check against delivery.

“We support the vision set out by the Chancellor in his Mansion House speech for a ‘New Chapter for Financial Services’.

“He identified four areas to make the UK the world’s most advanced and exciting financial services hub.

“In each of these areas – innovation, sustainability, openness and competitiveness – there are crucial steps to take.

“On innovation, the UK is the first global financial centre that pioneered both a regulatory sandbox and open banking.

“The Kalifa Review has sent a fantastic signal to the world for our high ambitions in this space.

“We are delighted to continue our collaboration with the Financial Conduct Authority on the Digital Sandbox, having just announced a second cohort aimed at tackling challenges related to ESG data and disclosures.

“Now we must build on this success by implementing a ‘scale box’ to provide regulatory support for growing firms.

“Similarly, we need to make progress on a Central Bank Digital Currency for the UK.

“Other jurisdictions are rapidly catching-up and we have to stay ahead of the game.

“In sustainability, the UK government and regulators are front-runners in adopting best practice and incorporating ESG principles into the financial system.

“Climate considerations are now embedded across all of the UK’s principal financial regulators.

“As we approach the COP26 summit this year, we need to make sure we do all we can to support greening finance, such as global consensus on climate risk reporting and disclosures and financing green and such as supporting the development of new sustainable financial products.

“The City of London Corporation – working with the Green Finance Institute – will be running a Green Horizon Summit at COP26 event, to mobilise private finance for Net Zero.

“And crucially, in a new regulatory environment outside the EU, we need to build on our reputation for openness.

“This openness to international firms has been a feature of the UK’s regime for decades and has contributed to the UK’s success as a global financial centre.

“The Overseas Person Exclusion is particularly important, allowing British firms to provide services to overseas counterparties without those counterparties requiring authorisation in the UK.

“As we look to agree new trade relationships with other nations, the negotiations between the UK and Switzerland for an agreement to enhance the cross-border market for financial services give us a glimpse of what is possible.

“An agreement to establish mutual recognition between the UK and Switzerland of each other’s regulatory and supervisory regimes would have an importance well beyond our two countries.

“It could set a gold standard for relations between two sophisticated, well-regulated, high-standard financial centres and send an important signal to the wider world.

“The regulators will have a critical role in ensuring that it works effectively and smoothly.

“We must press ahead as fast as we can, and continue to pursue agreements for international cooperation and collaboration in financial regulation.

“And finally, competitiveness. I would like to thank the Bank of England and FCA for your support for the Socio-Economic Diversity Taskforce, which the City of London Corporation has been commissioned by the Treasury to lead – headed by Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness and Alderman Vincent Keaveny.

“This aims to improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services, ensuring we have equity of progression – so people do not just get a foot in the door of financial and professional services firms, but also manage to reach the top by virtue of high performance.

“The Taskforce will be sharing a survey with employers this autumn, to gather anonymised data on socio-economic background.

“This will help develop a sector wide baseline to track progress and support action.

“This is about competitiveness, ensuring that the industry brings in and brings up the very best talent from all backgrounds and experience.”

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