1m City jobs at risk due to ‘leadership vacuum’: CISI

EU financial centres are “salivating at the prospect” of displacing London as the region’s number one international finance centre, due to a “complete leadership vacuum” in UK financial services, post-Brexit, according to the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. 

The UK financial services sector has been lacking a loud, visible champion communicator post-Brexit, which is affecting UK sector competitiveness and threatening up to a million financial services jobs, the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) says.

In The Review, the CISI’s quarterly member magazine, the organisation notes that during the three weeks since the EU referendum on 24 June, there has been a “complete leadership vacuum” in the UK’s financial services sector – something that it states is “particularly galling”, given that financial services is one of the UK economy’s most important sectors, and one that “other EU financial centres are salivating at” the prospect of luring away.

“At a time of great uncertainty the City needed a person, or organisation, to provide reassurance, vision, purpose and dynamism”, the CISI article says.

“Although the regulators have been actively talking to their key constituents, and the financial institutions and advisory firms have been contacting their customers and reassuring them, public leadership for the whole financial sector has been missing,” it adds.

‘Not good enough’

“There have been a number of discussions beneath the radar, but that’s not good enough,” CISI chief executive Simon Culhane, says.

“What the sector needs is a public, loud, visible champion communicator. Instead there has been almost total silence and zero direction or reassurance. It is no wonder that a new body, City United, is emerging to fill the vacuum.

“There are strong winds from Europe now, threatening our sector. Our industry’s one million employees deserve more than fair weather leaders; they deserve men and women who will step up to the plate quickly.”

2007 comparison

The Review article compares the present situation to 2007, which is, it says, the last time that there was a major uncertainty in the financial sector. It points to the leadership qualities of Angela Knight, the former head of the British Bankers Association and a de facto spokesperson for the banking and finance sector, who, it states, “was everywhere” at that time.

“If our present captains are not prepared to chart our course to a successful Brexit, as our new prime minister and her ‘Ministry for Brexit’ will rightly demand, we – and she – must find and welcome others who are prepared to do so, and quickly,”  Culhane argues.

Based in London, the CISI is an internationally-focused professional organisation which represents some 40,000 individuals who work in financial services. It has  representative offices in such financial centres as Dublin, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Dubai, Mumbai and Colombo, and provides training and qualifications for those looking to enter financial services or improve their skills.

Last year the UK’s Institute of Financial Planning – the UK’s Financial Planning Standards Board affiliate – was merged into it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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