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UK To Focus Keeping London Globally Competitive

HM Treasury (UK)

Group to focus on keeping London globally competitive

Ensuring London maintains its place as a world leading financial services centre in the face of new global trends and challenges is the focus of a new Government-industry group to be chaired jointly by Chancellor Alistair Darling and Citi Chairman, Sir Win Bischoff.

The new Financial Services Global Competitiveness Group will report directly to the High Level Group on City Competitiveness, which was set up by the Government in 2006 to develop and support a strategy for promoting London as a world-leading financial centre.

The group will comprise senior representatives from the financial services sector and will meet monthly to analyse global trends affecting the competitiveness of the international financial services industry, such as the impact of the sub-prime crisis and the rapid growth of new financial centres in emerging markets. The group's analysis will help to inform the Government's policy response to these global challenges. It will report back to the High Level Group in Spring 2009.

Speaking about the announcement, Chancellor Alistair Darling said:

"The financial services sector provides more than a million jobs in the UK and accounts for over 10 per cent of GDP. It is vital it can respond to the rapidly changing nature of international financial markets, with major shifts in financial flows and players to growing centres of influence and new sources of profit."

"I have asked Sir Win to lead an assessment of these global trends, and on their impact on financial centres over a 10-15 year horizon, to help London and the UK maintain and enhance its leading place in the world's financial markets."

Sir Win Bischoff said:

"I am honoured to have been asked by the Chancellor to lead the work of the Financial Services Global Competitiveness Group with him. The timing is right, as the financial landscape is changing around the world and we must make sure that world-class centres like London participate and benefit from this trend. I intend to report back with a range of issues for consideration on what is needed to maintain and enhance these centres' competitiveness."

In addition to the Financial Services Global Competitiveness group, the Chancellor has also announced:

* The creation of a Professional Services Industry group - jointly chaired by Sir Michael Snyder and Economic Secretary to the Treasury Kitty Ussher, - to look at the medium-term challenges in a sector for which the UK is a leading centre, covering legal services, accountancy, management consultancy and other services.

* A working party to review the efficiency of the UK's capital raising process - jointly Chaired by FSA Chief Executive Hector Sants and Economic Secretary Kitty Ussher. This will examine current market practices concerning equity capital raising by public companies, and report on whether changes are needed to UK company law, market practices or regulatory requirements to make equity capital raising more efficient and orderly.

In addition to these groups, which will consider issues directly related to the UK's competitiveness, the Chancellor intends to announce details of two new standing groups shortly, to focus on live topics related to the UK-based wholesale financial services industry and the insurance sector.

This is a continuation of the Treasury's efforts to strengthen its engagement with individual sectors in the UK financial services industry.


1. In the 2006 Budget the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown announced a commitment to establish a High-Level Group of senior representatives from across the financial sector, to develop and support a new strategy to promote London as the leading international financial centre. The High-Level Group has since met four times: on 18 October 2006, 9 May 2007, 14 November 2007 and 12 June 2008.

2. At the recent High-level Group meeting on June 12, its future plans were discussed. It was agreed that the High-level Group would meet broadly at the same frequency as previously, supplemented with smaller groups taking forward strategic work on specific issues related to the City competitiveness agenda.

3. The Chancellor announced during his Mansion House speech on June 18 that a forum would be set up under the aegis of the High-level Group to examine medium-term challenges to London's continued competitiveness in international financial markets against the rapidly changing global economic landscape and the emergence of new financial centres.

4. Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman of Citi, will jointly lead this Group on Financial Services Global Competitiveness with the Chancellor. The group is expected to meet on a monthly basis to consider the medium to longer-term trends impacting the competitiveness of the global financial services industry, against the changing international economic landscape and the emergence of new financial centres. The resulting analysis should enable the High-level Group to prioritise the commercial challenges for the UK-based financial services industry and related public policy challenges.

5. The members of the Group on Financial Services Global Competitiveness include:


* Rt. Hon. Alistair Darling, MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

* Sir Win Bischoff, Chairman, Citi


* Mr David Blitzer, Senior Managing Director, Corporate Private Equity, The Blackstone Group

* Sir David Clementi, Chairman, Prudential Plc

* Mr Michael Dobson, Chief Executive, Schroders

* Mr Stuart Fraser, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee, City of London Corporation

* Dame Clara Furse, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange

* Mr Michael Geoghegan, Chief Executive, HSBC

* Mr Anshu Jain, Head of Global Markets, Deutsche Bank

* Mr Robert Jenkins, Chairman, F&C Asset Management

* Mr Archie Kane, Chief Executive, Scottish Widows

* Sir Richard Lambert, Director General, Confederation of British Industry

* Lord Levene of Portsoken KBE, Chairman, Lloyds of London

* Alderman David Lewis, Lord Mayor of London

* Sir Callum McCarthy, Chairman, Financial Services Authority

* Mr Bill Mills, Chief Executive, Citi

* Mr Paul Myners, Chairman, Guardian Media Group

* Mr Stuart Popham, Senior Partner, Clifford Chance

* Mr Kieran Poynter, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

* Ms Barbara Ridpath, CEO, International Centre for Financial Regulation

* Mr Tom Scholar, Managing Director, HM Treasury

* Mr Andre Villeneuve, Chairman, LIFFE

6. The Chancellor also announced, during his Mansion House speech, the establishment of a Rights Issues Review Group to review the efficiency of the UK's capital raising process. The Economic Secretary to the Treasury Kitty Ussher MP and the Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority, Hector Sants, will jointly lead this group, which will examine current market practices and report on whether changes are necessary to UK company law, market practices or the regulatory requirements of the FSA.

7. The following bodies are represented on the Rights Issues Review Group: Alternative Investment Management Association; Association of British Insurers; Barclays; BP; British Bankers Association; Clifford Chance; Deutsche Bank; Goldman Sachs; Investment Management Association; Listing Authority Advisory Committee; London Investment Banking Association; Morgan Stanley; NM Rothschilds & Sons Ltd; Royal Bank of Scotland; The Pre-Emption Group; UBS AG. The UK authorities on the group include the Bank of England; the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform; the Financial Services Authority and HM Treasury.

8. Treasury officials are currently considering the remit and membership of the wholesale financial markets, insurance and professional services groups.

9. All the groups above, in addition to the existing Islamic Finance and Carbon Markets Experts Group chaired by the Economic Secretary and the Economic Secretary together with the Exchequer Secretary, Angela Eagle, MP, will operate under the auspices of the High-level Group. A full list of the latest High-level Group members, as of 4th July 2008, can be found here.

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