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UK Chancellor Hunt meets top UK bank heads over plans to boost City

23rd Jan 2024 12:37

(Alliance News) - Jeremy Hunt has met the UK's biggest banks as part of efforts among the government to boost interest in the City.

The chancellor and Bim Afolami, the economic secretary to the Treasury, met with heads at Barclays PLC, HSBC Holdings PLC, Lloyds Banking Group PLC, NatWest Group PLC, Santander UK and the London Stock Exchange Group PLC on Tuesday morning.

It follows recent efforts to improve competitiveness in the financial services industry amid a dearth in stock market listings and a slew of listed companies leaving London markets.

The meeting, held in Downing Street, saw the leaders discuss the outlook for the country's economic and banking sector, the Treasury said.

Top bank bosses, including Barclays' Chief Executive CS Venkatakrishnan and Lloyds Chief Executive Charlie Nunn, gave their views on what they thought the main opportunities for the banking sector were and how to make the UK industry more competitive.

The government's so-called Edinburgh Reforms sought to make changes to rules in the City when first laid out at the end of 2022.

They included new remits for watchdogs, repeals of some EU rules which would make it simpler and more attractive to list on UK stock markets, and relaxing ringfencing rules for banks.

The government also last year scrapped a cap on bonuses for bankers in a bid to make the UK a more competitive financial hub post-Brexit.

It means there is no longer a limit on the amount people who work for a bank or building society can be given in annual payouts, a move which prompted criticism from trade unions and the Labour Party.

The Treasury said: "The Chancellor and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury set out that the government would continue to engage with the industry to find new and better ways to unlock growth across the whole of the UK."

The plans to boost interest in the City come amid a quieter spell for London's top stock markets, as a string of listed businesses have been taken private by buyers in recent months.

The Restaurant Group PLC, which owns restaurant chain Wagamama, was taken over by US private equity company Apollo last year, taking it off the public markets.

The same goes for sofa chain ScS Group PLC, which announced it had accepted a bid from an Italian furniture retailer, and logistics group Wincanton PLC, which is the latest to reveal it was heading for private hands.

Just 23 firms listed on the London stock market over 2023, the quietest year on record since data first started being collected in 2010, according to auditing firm EY.

All of the banks which attended the meeting with Jeremy Hunt, and the London Stock Exchange Group, declined to comment.

By Anna Wise, PA Business Reporter

Press Association: Finance

source: PA

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