Financial services are changing. The traditional methods of banking, making payments and managing money have developed significantly over recent years and customer demand is shaping the way financial institutions offer their products and services.
Prompted by this, on 3 July 2017 a new financial trade body was launched. Seen as a step towards revolutionising and modernising the sector, UK Finance will represent the UK banking and finance industry as it is inundated with high tech developments. The new trade body will represent providers of credit, banking services and payment-related services. On top of this, UK Finance will also undertake various lobbying activities in an attempt to shake up the finance industry and ensure it works for consumers.
UK Finance is the result of a review launched back in 2014 by nine major retail banks (including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander) with the aim of reducing costs and avoiding the duplication of work. It describes itself as a ‘forward-looking, agile and collaborative trade association’ and it aims to improve the way financial services are viewed by the general public.
Members of the organisation
UK Finance is made up of the following bodies:
- Asset Based Finance Association;
- British Bankers’ Association;
- Council of Mortgage Lenders;
- Financial Fraud Action UK;
- Payments UK; and
- UK Cards Association.
Although each of these bodies has its own specialist role, the 2014 review, led by former Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards, culminated in a final report which concluded that a single body would have a bigger impact and reduce the duplication of work.
Bob Wigley was announced as chair of UK Finance on 1 March 2017. Wigley is overseeing the integration of the existing trade associations.
Former chief financial officer of Santander, Stephen Jones, has been named CEO of UK Finance. Jones will lead the new lobbying group from its offices in Angel Court, next to the Bank of England. Jones stated:
“…the expertise and reach of the constituent organisations will be deepened by coming together. We will serve our members by helping them build a more customer-focused and innovative finance and banking sector for the benefit of the UK economy as a whole”.
Brexit and technology
UK Finance will focus on building customer trust, enabling industry wide innovation, and working with regulators in the UK and abroad to ensure that the UK retains its position as a global leader in financial services.
Brexit will be a priority and the body will engage in lobbying to ensure a smooth transition into a post Brexit UK economy.
Stephen Jones has acknowledged that the financial sector has seen substantial technological advances in recent years. He sees an opportunity for the sector to grow further into a modern and customer focused operation.
“…the UK’s financial sector is undergoing an exciting transformation with innovation and technology revolutionising customer services… the boundaries between banking services are blurring, enabling the industry to become more efficient and customer-focused”.
For the financial sector, these changes present new opportunities, but also fresh challenges which require a coordinated voice to best support it in its growth.
UK Finance aims to bring together the expertise and command of six trade bodies in order to achieve the best outcome for customers. The importance of the financial sector to the UK should not be understated, more than one million people work in the UK financial services industry and it is thought that the sector pays taxes each year that cover almost two thirds of the cost of the NHS.
This blog post was written by our vacation student, Zohaib Masood. For further information, please contact:
Elliot Gibson, PSL assistant, Banking & Finance
T: 0161 836 7707