Written evidence from the City of London
1. This memorandum is submitted on behalf of
the City Corporation in the context of its role in promoting and
reinforcing the competitiveness of the UK-based international
financial services sector. The City Corporation has extensive
engagement with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UK Trade
and Investment, as part of this promotional work, both to support
UK based financial and professional services firms to develop
business in overseas markets, and to attract enhanced levels of
inward investment into the Square Mile, London and the UK as a
whole. As a large economic generator for the UK economy, the City
of London would wish to see continued emphasis placed on the promotion
of the sector.
2. The City Corporation is not in a position
to respond fully to all the questions posed in the Committee's
Call for Evidence but the following paragraphs reflect the City
Corporation's views on matters of particular interest to the City's
OF BIS IN
3. BIS in conjunction with the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (FCO) provide a pivotal role in stimulating export development
and inward investment; through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
The City interacts extensively with UKTI with regard to the promotion
of the UK based financial services industry and the attraction
of financial and professional services firms to the UK.
4. Each visit programme is delivered in market
by UKTI staff based in the Embassy and Consulate network, with
the aim to increase the profile of the UK based financial services
industry in overseas markets (predominately high growth markets),
promoting business development opportunities for UK based firms
and influence senior interlocutors to increase market access for
UK based firms. The UK's Embassy and Consulate network provides
a valuable and high profile point of contact for overseas firms
looking to invest in the UK and posts form an essential tool in
facilitating access to firms to discuss and encourage their inward
investment plans. UKTI is well placed within central government
to work with other departments on issues that affect inward investment
into the UK and this can be extremely valuable.
5. In addition to the trade promotion work undertaken
in tandem with UKTI, the City further supports the delivery of
inward investment services to assist foreign firms from the financial
and related business services sector set up or expand in London
and the UK. This includes working with firms that have been identified
as targets by UKTI staff based in the overseas Embassy and Consulate
network which, in turn, are usually referred to the City from
the UKTI inward investment team based in London. The City then
provides prospective investors with a range of services including
market intelligence (research reports) detailing the UK based
financial and professional services industry and facilitates introductions
to relevant contacts in the sector.
6. Effective and well-resourced UKTI teams are,
therefore, essential to the successful delivery of the visits.
To this end, the City of London runs an annual "Industry
briefing course" for overseas based representatives from
UKTI, who have a role in promoting the industry within their geographic
remit. The week long course arms UKTI staff with a core understanding
of the UK based financial and professional services industry and
its role in support of the broader economy, with a view to increasing
the effectiveness of its promotion.
OF UKTI IN
7. UKTI overseas based staff play a pivotal role
in the identification of export and investment opportunities in
both emerging and established markets. The overseas post network
provides valuable intelligence on changes in regulation, legislation
and economic developments throughout the globe. The City Corporation
on behalf of the financial and professional services community,
and with a view to maximising efficiency of resources, would welcome
the ability to tap more easily into this flow of relevant information.
For example, there is considerable value added to business promotion
by high quality economic reporting. It is desirable therefore
that economic and trade intelligence amassed by Posts should have
a wider distribution than it currently receives.
8. The City Corporation believes that overseas
posts need to retain a strong focus on promoting British business
in terms of both attracting enhanced levels of foreign direct
investment and identifying and supporting trade development opportunities.
Overseas posts need to continue to be staffed and resourced with
a high calibre of staff, with the ability to break down market
access issues and set them in the wider politico-economic context
as the UK seeks to stimulate a trade driven recovery.
9. High level engagement at post on business
issues by Political and Economic staff - including Heads of Mission
- adds immense value to the UK's trade promotion. The City Corporation
is greatly encouraged by signs of such engagement among many of
those currently occupying Head of Mission and other senior roles,
and hopes that the "new commercial diplomacy" will reinforce
10. Business Ambassadors have a valuable role
to play in promoting the UK in terms of attracting enhanced levels
of investment into the UK and promoting the export capabilities
of UK firms. There role is of particular importance in markets,
where long standing relationships need to be fostered.
11. The Lord Mayor acts as de facto ambassador
for the UK based Financial and Professional Services industry
and, during his year of office, will travel to around 25 overseas
markets and 36 cities promoting the industry. On each visit the
Lord Mayor is accompanied by a business delegation chosen to reflect
issues relevant to the host country. The business group comprises
senior practitioner level members.
12. It is often difficult to measure the immediate
effect of trade development activities, especially in overseas
markets where the development of relationships is key, prior to
the delivery of business contracts.
13. Similarly, it is difficult to measure the
immediate impact of the Lord Mayor's Overseas Visit programme
in terms of business developed and contracts awarded. Their strategic
benefit is, however, indicated by the continued interest from
participating companies to be involved in the visits programme
and by feedback from Posts.