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Freshfields Risk & Compliance

| 2 minutes read

Freshfields sponsors TheCityUK International Conference and co-writes report on measuring competitiveness of UK financial regulators

Freshfields sponsors TheCityUK International Conference and co-writes a report on “Advancing international competitiveness and economic growth: how do financial regulators compare?”

For the third year in a row, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has sponsored TheCityUK’s International Conference, which took place in London on 18 April 2024. This year’s conference focused on the role of the financial and related professional services industry in driving economic growth. The event brought together influential leaders from across the financial and related professional services industry, politics and the regulators. 

The conference coincided with the launch of a report by Freshfields and TheCityUK on the new secondary competitiveness and growth objective of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and how best to measure the regulators’ progress in advancing this objective. As part of this analysis, Freshfields conducted a survey of lawyers in 21 jurisdictions, including major financial centres and offshore venues, regarding whether:

  • The financial regulators in those jurisdictions have competitiveness and/or growth objectives or other expectations.
  • KPIs or other measures are used to monitor those objectives/expectations or the performance of financial regulators more generally.
  • Any body monitors the regulators’ performance against these objectives/expectations or more generally. 

The research shows that the metrics the UK regulators will publish to report against this objective will provide world-leading transparency and accountability. While several regulators in the jurisdictions surveyed have a comparable objective or expectation to advance competitiveness and/or growth, few, if any, publish quantitative metrics equivalent to those provided by the UK regulators. 

Due to the difficulties in comparing regulators’ performance across jurisdictions, the report recommends a holistic approach to international benchmarking, one that would consider the operational metrics produced by regulators together with a range of qualitative metrics and indicators developed with industry, drawing on inputs from a variety of market participants. The report also analyses some of the factors that would need to be taken into consideration in deciding whether a new or existing body should take on the role of collating this information and monitoring the performance of the UK regulators. 

Commenting on the report, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Bim Afolami MP, said: “The financial services regulators have a vital role to play in facilitating the international competitiveness of the UK economy. I strongly welcome today's report from TheCityUK and Freshfields which will help us benchmark and build on our performance.”

Sarah Pritchard, the FCA’s Executive Director, Markets and Executive Director, International, also acknowledged the report in her keynote speech at the conference, in which she described promoting competitiveness as “a juggling act.” She said that the FCA would “actively engage” with the suggestion of working on an international benchmarking framework that would include qualitative analysis as well as other metrics.

In addition to the report, two Freshfields partners featured in panel discussions at the conference. Tim Wilkins, a partner based in New York and the firm’s Global Partner for Client Sustainability, participated in a panel session considering how risks and opportunities in the current geo-political environment could impact the drive to net zero. And partner-elect Claire Harrop from the London office took part in a panel that looked at the fragmented landscape and its implications for the ongoing challenges and opportunities technology is creating.   

The full report can be read here: Advancing international competitiveness and economic growth: how do financial regulators compare? | TheCityUK


financial institutions, financing and capital markets, uk