LONDON – Steve Barclay, a former senior employee at Barclays, has been appointed as the new City Minister, taking a key role in the government’s relationship with the UK’s vital financial services industry.
Barclay, who has been the MP for North East Cambridgeshire since the 2010 general election, became Economic Secretary to the Treasury, which is held concurrently with the City Minister job by convention.
Prior to starting a career in politics, Barclay worked in a variety of roles in the City of London, including as director of regulatory affairs and then head of anti-money laundering and sanctions with the retail arm of Barclays. Prior to that, Barclay worked as a solicitor.
He has never held a ministerial position before but was an assistant whip under David Cameron, and a Treasury government whip during Theresa May’s first government.
Barclay replaces former City Minister Simon Kirby, who lost his seat at last week’s general election. Kirby’s role as City Minister was frequently brought into question during his tenure as he did not have previous experience working in the City, something usually seen as a prerequisite for the job.
As a result, Barclay’s appointment will likely be cheered in the City, thanks to his experience dealing with the baffling politics and traditions of the world’s oldest financial centre.
Barclay’s appointment comes at a tricky time for the City of London. With Britain heading out of the EU, London’s continued role as the hub of international finance for Europe has come into question in recent months.
Executives from HSBC, UBS, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs have all publically suggested that jobs will be moved away from Britain as a result of Brexit, while the City’s role as a hub for the clearing of euro derivatives is also up in the air, with EU politicians and senior finance figures all calling for the business to be relocated to the eurozone.