Press release

UK and Burma launch Financial Services Taskforce

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UK and Burma have today announced the creation of a Financial Services Taskforce

The UK and Burma have today announced the creation of a Financial Services Taskforce which will support the development of Burma’s financial services sector.

The announcement comes as President Thein Sein attended a breakfast meeting this morning with senior representatives from the British financial and professional services sector. The breakfast was hosted by Business Secretary Vince Cable and Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green. Representatives from British companies heard the President’s priorities for economic reform in his country and briefed the President on their experiences of doing business in Burma.

The new taskforce will bring together experts from both sides including relevant authorities and financial and professional services firms.

The purpose of the Taskforce will be to supplement the work already being undertaken by President Thein Sein’s government and international development agencies on financial and regulatory reforms by:

  • helping the local industry to develop appropriate new financial products and services focused on the provision of credit.
  • advising on suitable regulatory structures to support the sector.
  • and developing effective education, training and qualifications to build capacity in the sector.

The taskforce will be jointly chaired on the UK side by Standard Chartered Bank and the UK Government and will meet regularly in both countries. The first formal high-level meeting of the taskforce will be held during the Lord Mayor of London’s visit to Burma in October this year.

Lord Green, UK Minister for Trade & Investment, said:

The formation of this taskforce is an important step. It will be focused on delivering practical support and assistance to President Thein Sein’s Government on the development of a fully functioning financial services sector.

Financial services has the potential to be a transformative sector in this reform process, unlocking capital and investment. It is a sector in which the UK is a world leader and I am confident that British business can play an important role in supporting President Thein Sein and his Government in achieving the economic reform they are striving for.

Mike Rees, Standard Chartered Group Executive Director and CEO Wholesale Banking, said:

Standard Chartered has operated in the ASEAN region for over 150 years and we reopened our representative office in Yangon in February of this year. We have played a key role in supporting the development of emerging economies and have gained unique insights on how such markets can better manage sustainable economic transformation. The government in Naypyitaw has made great strides in its reintegration efforts with the international community and it has done so in a very short period of time.

The goal of seamless reintegration is being driven by the government’s desire to transform the country socially and economically. Following discussions with the government and local business leaders it has become clear there is a pressing need to boost knowledge and expertise in the area of financial services and as such, we view this taskforce as an exciting component in this strategy.

Simon Makinson, Head of Allen & Overy’s Burma Group said:

We have been supporting the Burmese Government for well over a year with training programmes on privatisation and PPP. The UKTI Financial Services Taskforce offers a great opportunity to expand this work into other areas, with the backing of the UK Government and private sector, in a more coordinated manner to really benefit the people of Burma and the development of the country.

Notes to editors:

1.In the 2012 Autumn Statement, UKTI was awarded an additional £70m for each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the recruitment of more international trade advisers around the country, expansion of existing services including the Trade Access Programme (TAP) and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and support to expand the range of assistance available to UK companies through overseas British chambers of commerce.

2.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

3.UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at