Government ready to do ‘whatever is needed’ to support financial services

Ryan Fowler

June 3, 2020

John Glen (pictured), Economic Secretary to the Treasury, has said the government stands ready to do “whatever is needed” to support the financial services industry and economy achieve “the maximum and most rapid bounce back” from the impact of COVID-19.

In his opening address to delegates at PIMFA’s inaugural Virtual Fest today Glen said: “We are at a critical time and financial services and the whole sector in all it’s dimensions has been core to the government’s economic response,” adding the Treasury was “committed to getting the county and economy back to as normal a state as soon as possible”.

“We have gone through difficult times as a country and as an industry before and we will come through the other side, and the government stands ready to do whatever we need to do to support the industry to return to better times through the back end of this calendar year and into 2021.”

The current crisis, he said, had underscored once again how critical financial advice and support was to the country. He added that it was important for financial services to continue to adapt to current circumstances and that it remained vital that “the sector was responsive to people’s rapidly changing situations as the country strives to return back to normality as quickly as possible”.

This would, he said, depend on the shape of the economy and how it evolved over the coming weeks and months, adding that it was “very difficult to give a clear projection”.

However, there was “a great desire to keep things joined up, to look thoughtfully and creatively at how we move forward in a clear and understandable way but at the same time have an eye to continued growth and prosperity for financial services, which have been such a significant part of the economy for a very long time”.

In order to do this, the Economic Secretary said the government would continue to listen to the concerns of wealth managers and financial advisers and work closely with them to try to make sure there was “a joined up approach” between industry, government and regulators to ensure a strong bounce back to the economy over the next 18 months.

He said: “What we have tried to do is maintain the capacity in the economy to ensure the conditions are set for the maximum and most rapid bounce back for the economy as a whole and we will need to look at how we will then support that in ways that maximise the chances of a fast recovery bouncing into a strong period of growth.

“The fusion of capital markets and retail investors working together is key. Business is going to have a lot more debt. There is a lot of work going on across the City and we welcome ideas that are well considered and that we can work with”.

Liz Field, chief executive of PIMFA, added: “We are very grateful to John Glen for his time and insights. Wealth managers and financial advisers stand ready to support the government in safeguarding individual’s financial and mental wellbeing and helping our economy return to normality as soon as possible.

“How the economy evolves, and how we as an industry and as a country emerge from the current crisis, will have long term and significant implications for future generations, so it is important that we all contribute to the recovery and find the right way forward.”

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