Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : UK offers international role model for financial regulation [July 1997]

The press release issued by HM Treasury on 21 July 1997.

The UK commitment to effective international regulatory cooperation and better international business and trading links, particularly with major developing economies such as China, was emphasised by Economic Secretary Helen Liddell today.

Meeting representatives of the Chinese Government, financial regulators, business and financial institutions visiting the Treasury during a regulatory familiarisation programme visit, Mrs Liddell commented:

“The UK financial services industry is immensely important. The City of London is a unique asset. We  all want it to prosper.

“London’s strengths as an international financial centre are due to a regulatory environment in which firms and investors can do business with confidence. UK financial markets are the most open in the world. Overseas firms and investment exchanges are warmly welcomed here.

“We intend to ensure a regulator fit for the 21st century – a world leading regulator. We are putting in place a policy framework to support the future development of the industry and of the economy, and to encourage more overseas companies to invest here. This will be a role model for financial institutions and regulators around the world.

“I am pleased to welcome visitors from across the Chinese financial and business community to  London to see how we  intend to achieve that and the progress already underway.

“We are building on good economic and financial relations with China. The Chancellor’s Scheme for China will enable up to 100 financial services executives from China to receive first hand experience in UK firms, and agreement on a joint Financial Dialogue  will  be on the agenda when he meets the Chinese Minister of Finance later this year.

“As well as better training and communication, countries wishing to participate in growing international markets must continue to take practical steps to protect investors and businesses. We must tackle problems of cross-border fraud and market abuse, and reduce opportunities to exploit national boundaries and differing legal systems. I am delighted that China is now a member of the International Organisation of Security Commissions (IOSCO), playing a full and active role in keeping with her rapidly expanding financial markets.

“Last year the UK Treasury, Security and Investments Board (SIB) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission agreed a Memorandum of Understanding to exchange regulatory information and pave the way for Chinese firms to list on the London Stock Exchange. This was China’s first cooperation agreement with a European country and is already bearing fruit, with two Chinese companies already listed here. I hope more will join them and come to London to raise capital.

“London offers a wide range of experience in issuing equity and in advising on models for public-private partnerships.Privatisation was not an easy step for the UK to take and it will not be easy for China. But it is a necessary one. Handled properly and with the right advice correctly applied, it can bring benefits to consumers through better and cheaper services; give companies freedom to plan and invest; and enable Government to concentrate on other priorities.

“Today’s meeting is a further practical step towards achieving our joint goals of shared regulatory values put into practice through effective financial institutions, and  increasing mutually prosperous and rewarding relations between our markets and the companies which form them. It is very welcome.”