UK financial sector trade associations the British Bankers’ Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, Payments UK and the UK Cards Association could be brought together to create a single umbrella organisation for the industry under proposals put forward by a bank-backed review body.
The Financial Services Trade Associations Review was launched last year by nine major UK retail banks and a building society to ensure that the existing bodies representing banking, consumer finance and payments were suitable to represent the changing UK financial services industry. It came amid concerns that the current structure is both disjointed and uncoordinated, and ineffective in representing an industry gripped by regulatory upheavals and new competition.
Under the proposals, the Asset Based Finance Association could be added to the mix, while UK Payments Administration and Financial Fraud Action UK would become close partners with new relationships.
Ed Richards, the former CEO of Ofcom, who led the Review in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, says: “There are real benefits from creating a more unified body to speak for this crucial area of the economy. A new trade association would be able to represent the industry more effectively because its voice would carry greater weight. Having a single point of contact will also be welcomed by policymakers and will reduce duplication of effort.”
The review recommends that the new trade body should establish close working relationships with the Building Societies’ Association and the Finance & Leasing Association and suggests this could lead to more extensive cooperation at a later date.
Other ideas aimed at strengthening the effectiveness of the new body are proposals for specialist committees to address digital innovation, new entrants and new technologies in finance and a committee for the nations and regions to ensure that those based outside London are strongly represented.
The review also recommends setting up two advisory groups to represent the views of consumers and SMEs and meet with the Main Board once a year.
The recommendations are now open to responses from interested parties.