UK’s financial and professional service sector to strengthen ties with South Africa

The UK’s most senior ambassador for the financial and professional services sector will be visiting Johannesburg this week to strengthen ties between South Africa and the UK. The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, will meet senior government representatives as well as leading firms based in the region from 17 – 18 September.

London the world’s leading financial and professional services centre, while Johannesburg is one of the most established finance centres in Africa. Both have benefitted from strong relationships with one another, which have deepened in recent years. The latest data shows that exports from the UK to South Africa totalled £1.8 billion, with trade specifically in financial services increasing by 31% in the last 8 years alone.

The Lord Mayor represents the financial and professional services sector for the whole UK, with many of the leading firms clustered in London’s financial district, the Square Mile. It is estimated that approximately 2% of the workforce in this financial cluster originate from South Africa.

Speaking on his visit to Johannesburg, the Lord Mayor Dr Andrew Parmley said:

“South Africa’s financial sector is a sophisticated and thriving industry, which provides huge benefits for Africa’s most developed economy. The sector has benefitted from a FinTech boom, particularly in recent years, which has enabled the sector to grow and adapt more quickly than ever before.

“As part of this trip, I want make sure our two nations continue working together to establish even greater opportunities for technological growth and collaboration, more advanced ways of implementing these new opportunities and ensure that we can, together, fulfil the financial needs of businesses and individuals across the African and European continents.

“This visit is not simply an opportunity to boost trade links, but is more than that. I want to see how we can increase collaboration, share intelligence on the latest technological innovations and continue to grow and improve the sector as a whole.”

Speaking ahead of the Lord Mayor’s visit, the British High Commissioner to South Africa, Nigel Casey MVO said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, to South Africa to further strengthen ties between the UK and South African financial and professional services sectors. These sectors remain engines of growth in both our economies and are at the heart of the mutually beneficial partnership we’re building for the future.”

The visit marks the start of a new collaborative campaign by the UK’s financial and professional services sector to build relations with international partners as part of a Commonwealth expansion programme. As the UK’s third biggest Commonwealth trading partner, South Africa ranks high on this international agenda.

The Lord Mayor will attend high-level meetings to discuss how the UK can expand its work with South Africa, especially after it leaves the European Union. Discussions will also centre on strengthening existing trade links, exploring new FinTech, Green Finance and InsurTech opportunities and understanding how policy and regulation can work more effectively to bolster innovation.

As this year marks the Centenary of the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, the Lord Mayor will also be visiting the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation’s beneficiary, Unity Secondary School, to help advance the strategic relationship with Tambo Foundation. The Lord Mayor will hand over a donation of £1500 (R25 000) to go towards their musical instruments drive.

Notes to editors

About the Lord Mayor of the City of London

  • The Lord Mayor is head of the Square Mile’s City of London authority for one year and the position is unpaid and apolitical. It is an exceptionally demanding role; the Lord Mayor spends some 90 days abroad and addresses some 10,000 people face-to-face each month (making around 800 speeches a year).
  • The Lord Mayor represents City businesses and helps the City Corporation advise the Government of the day on what is needed to help the financial services sector to function well. The Lord Mayor frequently travels to represent the City; and travels overseas with the status of a Cabinet Minister.
  • On average, the Lord Mayor will meet one head of state a month and will meet a prime minister or finance minister each week to discuss financial services, often in conjunction with senior City business representatives. The Lord Mayor, who is unpaid, lives in the Mansion House for the Mayoral year.
  • More information on the Lord Mayor can be found here.

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Isabel Potgieter

Spokesperson British High Commission

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