TheCityUK conference

UK ‘just getting started’ on reforms says minister

Andrew Griffith: addressed an Edinburgh audience on post-Brexit plans (pic: supplied)

Britain is “just getting started” with post-Brexit reforms that will ensure the country remains a world leader in financial services, the City Minister told an Edinburgh audience today.

Andrew Griffith outlined a range of measures which will be seen by the industry as a response to concerns over barriers between the UK and the EU.

Speaking at theCityUK annual conference, he said a lot of “hard graft” had already been done, but “we’re only just getting started.”

He added: “We want to reposition financial services for a time of great change so that they can contribute even more to this country’s long-term prospects.

“That’ll mean, for instance, a further package of reforms repealing EU law, and replacing it with rules tailor-made for how things are done here.

“It doesn’t mean deregulation for deregulation’s sake but it will mean selectively looking for ways we can use our freedoms to be more agile and competitive.”

Tackling relations and competition with the EU, he said “the UK has an abiding interest in a prosperous and productive Europe, with many shared interests, and we continue to have valuable relationships with our EU partners.

“But the success of Brexit has given us a clear opportunity to strengthen ties with advanced markets beyond Europe, from the US to Singapore, Japan to Australia.

“At the same time, we need to deepen links with the fastest growing markets across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Links that will have an important impact on the UK’s future prosperity.”

Noting that two-thirds of financial services jobs are outside London, Mr Griffith said the proposition is to increase the range of markets and consumers “that benefit from the UK’s innovative financial services offering”, including the markets of the future.

He said reforms to Solvency II – a set of regulations dictating how much financial reserves insurers have to hold against the risks included in their policies – could unlock over £100 billion of investment in UK infrastructure and green projects.

Craig Thornton, chief investment officer at Scottish Widows, said: “By working together the insurance industry, Government and the Prudential Regulation Authority will now be able to unlock a significant investment boost for the UK economy, while continuing to help people secure their financial futures. 

“Scottish Widows has already invested around £3bn in social housing projects across the UK, however we will be able to invest billions more in projects which are vital to the growth of the economy and the transition to net zero. 

“We’re looking forward to moving on to the next stage of the reform process at pace, which includes working with Government to accelerate the vital work of identifying suitable investment opportunities in the UK which will benefit from the recently announced changes.”

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