Financial Services: The Edinburgh Reforms

On 9 December, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a set of reforms to drive growth and competitiveness in the financial services sector.

At the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor highlighted financial services as one the UK’s five key growth sectors. In a written statement to Parliament on 9 December 2022, the Chancellor set out a collection of announcements taking forward the government’s ambition for the UK to be the world’s most innovative and competitive global financial centre.

This builds on the government’s vision for financial services, as set out in the Chancellor’s speech at Mansion House in 2021, for an open, sustainable, and technologically advanced financial services sector that is globally competitive and acts in the interests of communities and citizens, creating jobs, supporting businesses, and powering growth across all four nations of the UK.

The government is already taking forward work to deliver its vision through the Financial Services and Markets (FSM) Bill and, along with the announcement of the final policy statement on reforming Solvency II at Autumn Statement, this set of announcements is the next step in that work.

The government’s approach to reforming the financial services regulatory landscape recognises and protects the foundations on which the UK’s success as a financial services hub is built: agility, consistently high regulatory standards, and openness. This will ensure the sector benefits from dynamic, proportionate regulation and that consumers and citizens benefit from high quality services, appropriate consumer protection and from a sector that embraces the latest technology.

The full text of the Chancellor’s statement can be found here.

The press notice accompanying the launch can be found here.

The full list of measures announced is as follows:

A competitive marketplace promoting effective use of capital

The government is taking action to maintain and build the UK’s attractive and internationally respected ecosystem for financial services regulation. Taking advantage of the UK’s position outside the EU, the government is setting out how the framework for financial services regulation will adapt to support a dynamic, stable and competitive financial services sector. To take this forward, the government is:

  • Reforming the Ring-Fencing Regime for Banks
  • Issuing new remit letters for the PRA and FCA with clear, targeted recommendations on growth and international competitiveness
  • Publishing the plan for repealing and reforming EU law using powers within the FSM Bill, building a smarter regulatory framework for the UK
  • Overhauling the UK’s regulation of prospectuses
  • Reforming the Securitisation Regulation
  • Repealing the Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (PRIIPs) Regulation, and consulting on a new direction for retail disclosure
  • Intending to repeal EU legislation on the European Long-Term Investment Fund (ELTIF), reflecting that the new UK Long-Term Asset Fund (LTAF) provides a better fund structure for the UK market
  • Launching a Call for Evidence on reforming the Short Selling Regulation
  • Publishing a draft Statutory Instrument to demonstrate how the new powers being taken forward in the FSM Bill will be used to ensure that the FCA has sufficient rulemaking powers over its retained EU payments legislation
  • Consulting on removing burdensome customer information requirements set out in the Payment Accounts Regulations 2015
  • Welcoming the PRA consultation on removing rules for the capital deduction of certain non-performing exposures held by banks
  • Bringing forward secondary legislation to implement Wholesale Markets Review reforms
  • Establishing an Accelerated Settlement Taskforce
  • Committing to establish the independent Investment Research Review
  • Commencing a review into reforming the Senior Managers & Certification Regime in Q1 2023
  • Committing to having a regime for a UK consolidated tape in place by 2024
  • Consulting, in early 2023 on issuing new guidance on Local Government Pension Scheme asset pooling
  • Increasing the pace of consolidation in Defined Contribution pension schemes
  • From April 2023, improving the tax rules for Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Announcing changes to the Building Societies Act 1986
  • Delivering the outcomes of the Secondary Capital Raising Review
  • Consulting on reform to the VAT treatment of fund management

A world leader in sustainable finance

The government is ensuring that the financial system plays a major role in the delivery of the UK’s Net Zero target, and is acting to secure the UK as the best place in the world for responsible and sustainable investment.

The UK is the world’s premier financial centre for sustainable finance. The government is acting to ensure the UK retains global leadership in this rapidly growing sector, helping to unlock the private financing needed for Net Zero. The steps being announced today are:

  • Publishing an updated Green Finance Strategy in early 2023
  • Consulting in Q1 2023 on bringing Environmental, Social, and Governance ratings providers into the regulatory perimeter

A sector at the forefront of technology and innovation

The government is ensuring that the regulatory framework supports innovation and leadership in emerging areas of finance, facilitating the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. The measures below build on the FSM Bill, which will establish a safe regulatory environment for stablecoins – which may be used for payments – and ensure the government has the necessary powers to bring a broader range of investment-related cryptoasset activities into UK regulation. The government is:

  • Consulting on a UK retail central bank digital currency alongside the Bank of England in the coming weeks
  • Publishing a response to the consultation on expanding the Investment Manager Exemption to include cryptoassets
  • Implementing a Financial Market Infrastructure Sandbox in 2023.
  • Working with the regulators and market participants to trial a new class of wholesale market venue which would operate on an intermittent trading basis.

Delivering for consumers & businesses

The government will continue to work with the regulators and industry to ensure the sector is delivering for people and businesses across the UK. The government is:

  • Consulting on Consumer Credit Act Reform
  • Laying regulations in early 2023 to remove well-designed performance fees from the pensions regulatory charge cap
  • Committing to work with the FCA to examine the boundary between regulated financial advice and financial guidance

Written Ministerial Statement - Financial Services.


Published 9 December 2022