In a recent statement by the United Kingdom government the Chancellor announced it has set up plans to open the financial service sector by issuing the UK’s first ever Sovereign Green Bond as well as leading the global conversation on new technologies like stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, stated, We are starting a new chapter in the history of financial services and renewing the UK’s position as the world’s pre-eminent financial centre. By taking as many equivalence decisions as we can in the absence of clarity from the EU, we’re doing what’s right for the UK and providing firms with certainty and stability.Our plans will ensure the UK moves forward as an open, attractive and well-regulated market, and continues to lead the world in pioneering new technologies and shifting finance towards a net zero future.”
Recognising that financial services are a critical enabler in the drive for net zero, the Chancellor outlined new proposals to support sustainable financial flows and extend the UK’s global leadership in green finance ahead of hosting COP26. To help the UK meet its 2050 net zero target and other environmental objectives, the government will issue its first Sovereign Green Bond in 2021 subject to market conditions – and intends to follow up with a series of further issuances to meet growing investor demand for these instruments. These bonds will help finance projects that will tackle climate change, finance much-needed infrastructure investment and create green jobs across the country.
The Chancellor also announced the introduction of more robust environmental disclosure standards so that investors and businesses can better understand the material financial impacts of their exposure to climate change, price climate-related risks more accurately, and support the greening of the UK economy.
The UK has long been a pioneer in financial services and will remain at the forefront of technological innovation. New technologies such as stablecoins – privately-issued digital currencies – could transform the way people store and exchange their money, making payments cheaper and faster.
To harness the potential benefits of stablecoins, whilst managing risks to consumers and financial stability, the Government will propose a regulatory approach for relevant stablecoin initiatives that ensures they meet the same minimum standards we expect of other payment methods.
And as the UK takes a leading role in the global conversation on Central Bank Digital Currencies, the Chancellor welcomed work by HM Treasury and the Bank of England to consider whether and how central banks can issue their own digital currencies as a complement to cash.