11.07.2016

Highlights from the BBA Annual Retail Banking Conference Pt 1: Brexit and Beyond

Highlights from the BBA Annual Retail Banking Conference Pt 1: Brexit and Beyond

Last week, we attended the BBA’s Annual Retail Banking Conference in the heart of The City; where as well as exhibiting, we also took part in the day's varied panel discussions, presentations and floor debates.

Bringing together some of the most influential players in the retail banking sector, this event represents a unique opportunity for the industry’s elite to gather to discuss hot topics with delegates from across the banking, insurance and fin-tech sectors. With the shock of the Brexit vote still fresh in everyone’s minds, the conference was well-placed to give a perspective from an outlet that was refreshingly free of the hyperbole that has typified political headlines in recent weeks. Changes to the advertised itinerary for the day saw last minute inclusions of figures such as ex-MEP Baroness Bowles, and the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, MP Harriett Baldwin.

On Brexit:

Chairing the day was ITV’s Business Editor, Joel Hills; "We know for certain that Britain is leaving the EU”, he said, “but at this time we have absolutely no idea what that means for Britain, or for London. However, remembering the 2008 banking crash, Britain’s banks have been stress tested to destruction – and we have survived what we hope is worse.”

Whether his view is an overly optimistic one or not was very much up for discussion; Noreen Doyle, chair of the BBA was more measured in her take on things, saying that consequences – whether for better or worse – would take time to become apparent. “our message to the government is that we need an orderly transition to whatever system will be in place from here”, she commented; “We do welcome the government’s decision not to invoke article 50 for now, as we do need time to plan for a stable and orderly transition for the banking sector.” Indeed, this was a view shared by many of the other panellists, with Justin Bisseker (Pan-European Banks Analyst at Schroders) stating that, “Invoking article 50 will simply accelerate decisions that might otherwise have taken a decade. Investment decisions will likely be delayed until there is more certainty.” Adding her take on things, Harriett Baldwin MP reiterated the point that the triumph of the ‘leave’ vote was, “a clear democratic decision on a higher turnout than we get in a general election.” Although her tone implied a certain amount of uncertainty for the future of Britain's banking sector in light of Brexit, she went on to remember the 1987 stock market crash, and the 1997 capital market crash, concluding that, “financial markets are capable of weathering times like these."

Image of the programme of speakers for the BBA conference

“There have been fundamental reforms to the regime since the last crash”, she continued, “and above and beyond the effectiveness of precautionary measures put in place by The Bank of England, the critical social determinate is confidence. The UK is the most experienced financial capital in the world; we have a strong regulatory framework; we will adjust to and overcome the challenges we face. As far as we are concerned, there is no change – to the way goods and services are traded, or to the way our systems are regulated.

Let us not forget: the economy has grown 13% since 2010; the budget deficit is down from 11% of national income to just over 3%. The key message here is that Britain is strong, and we are open for business."

Unicorn at the Conference: In light of our solid and successful partnership with the BBA, we attended the conference in the capacity of exhibitors; taking with us some of our compliance experts to discuss our services with the attendees. [L-R Simon Mercer, ComplianceServe Product Manager; Aidan Keenlyside, Business Development Manager; Alex Prodromou, Business Development Manager.]

Simon, Aidan and Alex at the Unicorn Stand at the BBA conference

Our next blog from the Conference will look at Cyber Security, as we explore the panel discussion presented by HSBC, Santander and The National Crime Agency.

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