UK Finance, a new mega-trade body representing over 300 firms in the UK, opens for business today, taking on the activities previously carried out by the Asset Based Finance Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Financial Fraud Action UK, Payments UK and The UK Cards Association.
The merger of some of the UK’s myriad trade associations is expected to save millions of pounds in administration and membership fees as well as addressing bankers’ complaints that multiple trade bodies leads to a duplication of lobbying efforts.
A blueprint for the new body was drawn up in June last year by Ed Richards, the former head of media regulator Ofcom, which proposed taking out a loan of £15.5m for the implementation of the super lobby group which will be repayable within three years as a result of the expected cost savings.
UK Finance is led by CEO Stephen Jones who brings broad experience having worked in a wide range of roles in finance for nearly thirty years, including for Santander, Barclays, Citigroup and Schroders. Bob Wigley, Emea chairman of Merrill Lynch and a member of the Court of the Bank of England, is the organisation’s Chair.
Jones cites the technological revolution in financial services as a major driver for the creation of the new body, blurring the boundaries between once distinct industry sectors.
“For the UK’s finance and banking sector, these changes present new opportunities and fresh challenges which require a coordinated voice to best support it going forward,” he says. “UK Finance will be that fresh voice: representing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services across the UK and bringing together the expertise and reach of the constituent organisations to achieve the best outcomes for our members and their customers.”