British government proposes “UK Ucits”

Big_BenThe UK government has moved to strengthen the country’s asset management industry by creating centres of excellence and involving more fintech.

These are two of six “areas of growth” contained in the Treasury’s strategy that aims to ensure the UK remains globally competitive as an asset management hub.

The plan is referred to as ‘The Investment Management Strategy II’ and mentions that “the long-term approach of the government will ensure that the UK asset managers will remain able to establish a fund structure based on Ucits in the UK”.

The six areas of growth involve centres of excellence that will be established at UK universities across the country to ensure a supply of talent; encouraging fintech innovation “such as a blockchain enabled digital fund”; and work with international partners to attract overseas firms and promote UK asset management abroad.

The other three plans are to promote the UK’s stable tax regime; set up an Asset Management Taskforce to facilitate government, regulator, and industry dialogue; and the last piece of the strategy centres on providing support for “innovative strategies” such as green finance and impact investing.

Stephen Barclay, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “The UK is a world leader in asset management, and it is vital that we keep it that way.”

He said the industry was a pivot of the UK economy, generating about 1% of the UK’s GDP and employing over 38,000 people.

Stephen Burke, a director at risk and compliance firm Cordium, said: “This is the UK government putting its shoulder to the investment management wheel and attempting to directly address some of the industry’s Brexit concerns.

“The commitment to power the industry through developing UK talent is welcome news.  It also suggests the herald of a return to investment administration in the UK, and highlights the move towards carving out a Ucits-like brand, which will lead to mutual fund recognition globally.”

The Treasury strategy paper can be read here.

In September last year the French financial regulator started trying to attract UK firms to set up in Paris to gain EU access.

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