UK as a Financial Services Hub — [Graham Stringer in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of Bim Afolami Bim Afolami Conservative, Hitchin and Harpenden 9:30 am, 6th February 2019

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered the UK as a financial services hub.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer. I started my professional career in financial services, as did the Exchequer Secretary, as a corporate lawyer in the City of London. I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for three years, before working at an American firm called Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for three years. After that, I underwent a bit of a switch, and moved from being a lawyer advising on transactions to working in banking in strategy and restructuring at HSBC. I moved from being an adviser to a principal, or manager.

When I was at HSBC, I started to learn about financial services in their broader sense. As a senior executive, I was deeply involved with several high-profile aspects of the bank’s restructuring, notably on splitting the retail bank from the investment bank, which was necessitated by ring-fencing legislation. I also spent time working across the global bank on the implementation of MiFID II—the markets in financial instruments directive—which required huge changes to how the markets desk operated. I also worked on custody systems, payment systems and business design. That took me up to June 2017, when I was elected to this House as Member of Parliament for Hitchin and Harpenden.

Obviously, financial services matter a huge amount to me, but they also matter a lot to my constituents. An analysis of the latest census data leads me to estimate that my constituency is in the top 50 in the country for those who work in financial or professional services. One cannot move in Hitchin or Harpenden without bumping into a lawyer, a banker or an investor.