Business

Five City trade associations to merge

Canary Wharf Image copyright Getty Images

Five financial services trade associations in the City - including the British Bankers' Association (BBA) - are to merge, following a review.

The BBA will join up with Payments UK, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), the UK Cards Association and the Asset Based Finance Association.

The idea is to cut costs, and increase lobbying power.

The BBA represents both High Street and investment banks, while the CML covers banks and building societies.

It is not yet known what the new body will be called.

Nine of the UK's biggest banks including HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays as well as building society Nationwide, called on the trade bodies to consider merging as it was considered that they often duplicated lobbying efforts.

They also raised concerns over the need to cut costs and have a stronger voice on European regulation.

"A new trade association would be able to represent the industry more effectively because its voice would carry greater weight," said Ed Richards, the former communications regulator who was appointed to lead the review.

"Having a single point of contact will also be welcomed by policymakers and will reduce duplication of effort."

The review also said trade association fees could be reduced by up to 30%.

Overlap

The Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation think-tank estimates banks spend upwards of £50m on the top 10 trade associations they belong to.

It also found a significant overlap in membership with around 60% of UK Payments Council members also members of the BBA, for example.

The review called for the new to become a close partner with UK Payments Administration and Financial Fraud Action UK.

The Building Societies Association and the Finance & Leasing Association both said they did not want to join the merged group of trade bodies.

The various trade bodies expected to merge have yet to hold a vote of their members, which is not expected until the end of February. Should members of each lobby group vote to merge the timetable would see the enlarged trade body launch in May and be fully operational by November 2016.