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UK launches new finance body

Europe / 03-07-17 / by
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The UK finance and banking industry is now represented by a new trade association called UK Finance.

The new organisation will take on the activities previously carried out by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), Payments UK, Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK, Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the UK Cards Association (UKCA).

A spokesperson for UK Finance, tells GTR the merger is a result of recommendations from an independently-led review in 2015, into the effectiveness and efficiency of the financial services trade association landscape, which was led by former Ofcom CEO Ed Richards, and is not a response to Brexit.

While the FFA will still operate as a separate brand under UK Finance, the other five organisations have all been dissolved and integrated into the new organisation.

UK Finance will represent some 300 companies providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services to both domestic and international businesses. Its role will be to help its members facilitate industry-wide collaboration and innovation, and work with policymakers and regulators in the UK, EU and at a global level.

The new association is being led by CEO Stephen Jones who has worked in a wide range of roles in finance for Santander, Barclays, Citigroup and Schroders. Bob Wigley, who is Emea chairman of Merrill Lynch and a member of the court of the Bank of England, is the organisation’s chair.

“The UK’s finance and banking sector is undergoing an exciting transformation with innovation and technology revolutionising customer services; from tapping a card or mobile phone to make payments, securing a mortgage via video chat or using Big Data to combat financial crime, the boundaries between banking services are blurring, enabling the industry to become more efficient and customer-focused,” says Jones.

“For the UK’s finance and banking sector, these changes present new opportunities and fresh challenges which require a co-ordinated voice to best support it going forward. UK Finance will be that fresh voice.”

The association’s board will focus on issues such as ethics, financial inclusion, financial fraud, crime, access to markets and diversity. Among those on the board are the CEOs of Barclays UK (Ashok Vaswani),  HSBC UK (Ian Stuart), Leeds Building Society (Peter Hill), Nationwide Building Society (Joe Garner), Citi UK (James Bardrick), Money Advice (Joanna Elson) and executive director at Worldpay Ron Kalifa.

Goodbyes at BBA

Last week, on his last day as CEO of the BBA, Anthony Brown wrote in a blog: “Looking forward, from digital banking to Brexit, the sector faces may exciting opportunities and a fair few challenges. This is a crucial time for the financial services industry and it is vital that government and business maintain an open dialogue. As we begin the next phase of the Brexit processes, our focus should remain on securing a transition period that allows banks to continue to meet their customers’ needs as the UK leaves the EU.”

Meanwhile, chair of the BBA export finance and trade committee, Gabriel Buck, will be stepping down from his role.

“My stepping down will not be a surprise I’ve been suggesting this for some time and with the creation of UK Finance timing was right,” says Buck.

“It gives the new chair the opportunity to start from afresh within a new organisation.”

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