From reforming capital markets and seeking closer links with advanced and emerging financial centres, through to boosting opportunities for green investment, and protecting access to cash, Rishi Sunak outlined how the UK’s financial services industry can help the country to lead on the global stage while also acting in the interests of people at home.
In his first address at Mansion House to an audience of young and aspiring leaders in financial services, the Chancellor outlined the wide set of reforms already underway in the UK.
He also published a new ‘roadmap’, detailing both the progress being made, and how the government is going further to ensure the sector remains competitive now it has left the EU.
In his speech, the Chancellor said:
Financial services don’t just generate prosperity at home. They give us the economic power to project our values on the global stage.
More open, more competitive, more technologically advanced, and more sustainable – that is our vision for financial services. The Roadmap we are publishing today sets out a detailed plan for the next few years – and I look forward to delivering it, together.
A world leader in Green Finance.
In his speech, the Chancellor announced plans to require companies, pension schemes, financial services firms and their investment products to report on the impact they are having on the climate and environment – as well as the risks and opportunities facing their business.
These new integrated Sustainability Disclosure Requirements will bring together and streamline existing climate reporting requirements and go further to ensure consumers and investors have the information they need to make informed investment decisions and drive positive environmental impact. The Government intends to legislate to deliver this and will set out its approach to green finance regulation ahead of COP26.
And with over 70% of people saying they want their investments to avoid harm and achieve good for people and the planet, the Government will also work with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to create a new sustainable investment label – a quality stamp – so that consumers can clearly compare the impacts and sustainability of their investments for the first time.
Details have also been announced on the types of green projects that will be eligible for funding when the UK issues its first ever sovereign green bond, known as a green gilt, later this year, and a world-first green savings bond offered by NS&I, with yesterday’s publication of the UK Government Green Financing Framework.
Green projects like zero-emissions buses, offshore wind and schemes to decarbonise homes and buildings will be eligible for funding, with at least £15 billion of green gilts issued this financial year alone.
These two products will give both investors and savers across the UK the opportunity to join the collective fight against climate change and other environmental challenges, reinforce the UK’s position as a world-leader in green finance, and create new jobs in green technologies across the country.
A sector at the forefront of technology and Innovation
The Chancellor outlined how the UK is supporting innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies – but stressed the importance of having the right protections in place, with plans for legislation to protect access to cash.
A consultation, published today, outlines the government’s plans for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash, and that the FCA has the powers that it needs to hold firms to account to meet these requirements.
Alongside the legislation that has already been passed to enable cashback without a purchase, these proposals will support the continued use of cash in people’s daily lives and help enable local businesses to continue accepting cash by protecting deposit facilities.
A competitive marketplace
In his speech the Chancellor announced consultations on reforms to the regulation of wholesale capital markets and a fundamental review of the prospectus regime following recommendations in Lord Hill’s listings review.
The prospectus review will cover the rules governing the information companies must publish when raising finance to make it simpler, more agile and more effective. New proposals to reform the UK’s wholesale markets regime aim to deliver a rulebook which is fair, outcomes-based and supports competitiveness, whilst ensuring the UK maintains the highest regulatory standards.
An open and global financial hub
The Chancellor also outlined how the UK will use its strengths as a global financial hub to establish and enhance strong relationships with jurisdictions all around the world, seeking closer links with advanced and emerging financial centres.
He highlighted how a new financial services partnership with Singapore was agreed yesterday, and that the UK is negotiating a ground-breaking deal with Switzerland, the most ambitious financial services agreement ever attempted.
He also noted the importance of confidently pursuing an economic relationship with China in a safe, mutually beneficial way without compromising the UK’s values or security.