As Lord Mayor of the City of London I represent the UK’s financial and professional services industry.
As a result of the British public voting to leave the European Union last year, my role is now more important than ever. The world is watching to see how the UK redefines and establishes its future relationship with the EU and the rest of its global partners.
I know there has been much debate about how the UK’s departure from the EU will impact London’s future.
Yes, there remain challenges; however, the City, like the broader UK economy, has shown itself to be remarkably innovative and adaptable over the years.
I am confident that London’s depth of talent, our attractiveness as a place to work and live, and assets like English rule of law, language and our regulatory landscape will mean we remain the number one global financial center.
My primary message to readers is that the UK remains open for business and is looking to build ever stronger and deeper partnerships with like-minded centers like Hong Kong.
In the financial sector, we have common cause in a number of emerging areas ranging from financial technology (fintech), to green finance, trade financing, cyber security and developing the offshore renminbi market.
Fintech is one area that is booming in the UK (with more than 44,000 jobs in the industry and a value at over £20 billion), and I look forward to meeting some of the leading lights in Hong Kong on my visit.
There are already strong regulatory and governmental links here and some exciting proposals to deepen collaboration between the UK’s research and start-up scene, and Cyberport and ASTRI here.
There are many other ways in which Hong Kong and London can complement one another, playing to the strengths of London as the world’s leading financial center and to Hong Kong’s particular strengths as the channel for mainland investment and in the context of a competitive Asian market.
I know there has been much debate in Hong Kong about how it retains its place as a leading financial center.
A lively debate is also taking place in London and let me highlight the issue of attracting and retaining talent.
One of my main tasks in the EU negotiations is that British businesses maintain access to talented individuals from across the world.
This has been a key part of the City’s success. Hong Kong, too, is part of London’s success story with nearly 17,000 Hongkongers coming to the UK to study in our world-leading universities every year. Continuing this educational connection is of vital importance.
Over the coming months and years, we will be working hard to ensure that we negotiate a mutually beneficial deal with our European neighbors but also that we deepen our relationships with leading economies across the world, including Hong Kong.
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