I’m delighted to speak at City Week for the first time and welcome you to today’s exciting FinTech program.
Since becoming Trade Secretary seven months ago, I have traveled the world, beating the drum for UK financial services wherever I go.
I’m so glad we were able to have the Ambassador from Ukraine, an amazing man. And I think every citizen of Ukraine is showing a determination that I hope we would have if we were under such terrible pressure.
But we have worked very closely as a government, thinking about how we can support Ukraine while ensuring that Putin’s illegal war fails. And we just announced yesterday the liberalization of all tariffs for our trade with Ukraine.
We are the first to do this, and I will encourage other countries to do the same, while trying to use the tools of sanctions at our disposal – both financially and commercially – to reduce Putin’s ability to fund his illegal war. We also want to make sure that we support the economy of Ukraine, which is of course under enormous pressure because so many of its agricultural businesses are currently unable to move forward this year, to help them in all aspects of the trade that we can.
And I encourage all of you to reflect in your own spheres on how you can achieve this. And if you think the government can do more to support Ukrainians, whether in the country or around the world, please share it because this is a commitment to which we, as a government, are fully committed. percent and we also want to encourage others around the world to do the same.
But of course, in my travels, and precisely up to this point, I have seen around the world – and I have traveled from Baltimore to Singapore, from Ottawa to Jakarta – this extraordinary passion and success thanks to the strength of innovation and the expertise of our British banks, wealth managers and FinTechs, the subject of a particular focus today for you.
And I’ve seen it for myself, everywhere I’ve been your international reputation is truly second to none – I get the best, I get all the credit for all the hard work you do, as people tell me to regularly; you have an amazing industry there and we want to do more to be like you.
So we want to tap into those international connections and they want to understand your expertise and be part of the success that UK FinTech brings.
And my message to them was loud and clear: the city is open for business. The City wants to work with you. The City stays one step ahead of the competition.
Because that’s what the City has always done.
Drive, drive and determination have made UK financial services what they are today. Seize the opportunities created by Global Britain.
We are the world’s largest net exporter of financial services, the leading financial technology center in Europe and a leading fundraising center in the world.
More than a million people in the UK are employed in financial services, two-thirds of whom are based outside the capital.
As a report by TheCityUK showed, in all but two UK regions, financial services are the top services export. This is leveling in action.
Your openness to new ideas, markets and technologies has placed FinTech at the heart of this national network of financial excellence. Create highly skilled and well-paid jobs; apprenticeships for our young people; and dissemination of opportunities.
Almost half of Europe’s fintech unicorns have been built right here in the UK. Klarna leads in Manchester, Sage puts the new in Newcastle – I visited their offices the other day and was fantastic to see a company I’ve seen grow over the decades – and Atom Bank delivers in Durham , just around the corner from my riding.
As banking giants Goldman Sachs pushes digital and opens a new office in the heart of Birmingham’s booming financial sector.
So, I think we can all agree that in FinTech, business is booming. Last year, the UK racked up more investment than France, Germany and the Netherlands combined.
It is important. Because FinTech isn’t just about finance, it’s about greasing the wheels of commerce, so entrepreneurs across the country can advance their businesses, drive growth, and accelerate to global markets.
Whether it’s Wise moving money across borders seamlessly, Xero making deposit accounts a breeze, or Tide enabling businesses to create banking services in a snap, FinTech empowers entrepreneurs to do more of what they really want to do well.
Our government could not value this work and our entire financial sector any more.
That’s why my friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer commissioned Ron Kalifa to conduct an independent review of UK FinTech, and we’re working hard to provide his recommendations.
The FCA has already expanded its world-leading Regulatory Sandbox by piloting a new “scalebox” to support newly licensed firms.
And last month, my department and Innovate Finance launched the International FinTech Group, uniting industry and government to keep our FinTechs on top of the world.
It’s also why, since we reclaimed our independent business policy, my ministry has opened doors for our financial services businesses around the world.
Our free trade agreement with Japan cements the city’s long-standing reputation as a bridge between East and West.
Our agreement with Australia offers ambitious financial services and digital chapters.
And we were the first European country to sign a digital economy deal with Singapore, uniting two financial services powerhouses.
And we’re just getting started. You have my word – we will do everything in our power to help you meet the global demand for your excellence.
Because hidden barriers, protectionism and outdated rules prevent our innovators from conquering new markets.
That’s why we continue our mission to secure a series of advanced, high-level agreements with leading nations around the world.
We are on track to join the £8 billion CPTPP this year, which will create a plethora of opportunities for you in eleven dynamic markets. Modern partnership regulations unlock reliable cross-border data flows and sweep away local restrictions that hinder service exports.
The CPTPP is a basic agreement, so we can innovate even more in the agreements with its members. Just like we are with Canada. Last month, I traveled to Ottawa to launch negotiations for a trade agreement that will go far beyond innovation, digital and data than ever before.
In January I also traveled to New Delhi to launch negotiations on a comprehensive free trade agreement with India, you will see the Prime Minister was there over the weekend helping our campaign to deliver a free trade agreement -really impactful exchange.
We see some really radical, different and open views there that we want to exploit and we want to work alongside India to achieve that success.
Both of our economies are service, digital and technology oriented, but at the moment India is only our 15th largest trading partner. Achieving a deal can remedy this by giving UK companies a ‘first mover’ advantage in Indian markets.
We are also leading efforts to make the World Trade Organization the seat of modern commerce.
The WTO was created in 1995, when less than 1% of the world’s population was online. Thus, the United Kingdom is committed to modernizing the organization and advancing digital regulation.
Before today’s program begins, I want to make a promise to you that our government is committed to breaking down barriers in the way of our FinTechs and financiers and to regulating to foster competitiveness and innovation.
You already provide a platform for our nation to deliver so much wealth and innovation. There is a global appetite for UK services, for FinTech and for finance. And our trade deals open doors in data, digital and services.
So if we strive side by side and drive investment, we can lead the world in FinTech and digital, stay ahead in finance, and allow our businesses to grow freely through the trade.
Write a new chapter for our financial services, raise the bar across the country and once again prove the doubters wrong.
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the closing day of what has been another fantastic week in the city.