The ‘City of London’ and its €34 million annual EU lobby spend

June 7th, 2016
by Vicky Cann

The UK financial sector spends at least €34 million per year on lobbying in Brussels and employs more than 140 lobbyists to influence EU policy-making, according to new analysis from LobbyFacts’ database. Data shows that the 50 biggest organisations which are, or which represent, UK private sector financial actors, declared €34,227,539 annual EU lobby spend. This is likely to be an underestimate because when organisations have declared their lobby spend within a range, we have taken the lower figure; we have also excluded the smaller lobby actors; and some key players may not be part of the EU’s (voluntary) lobby register. At the top of the list is the Association for Financial Markets in Europe with its massive declared EU lobby spend of over €7million a year. AFME, or Finance for Europe as it styles itself, represents the biggest global and European banks and other capital market players operating in wholesale financial markets. Other associations representing different elements of the financial services economy dominate the top of the list. The Investment Association representing UK investment managers spends €3million on EU lobbying; the International Swaps and Derivatives Association spends €2,750,000; TheCityUK which “champions UK-based financial and related professional services” spends €2 million; and the British Bankers' Association, €1,750,000. Others in the top 12 biggest UK finance lobbyists are well-known names from the world of global finance: HSBC Holdings (€1,750,000); Barclays €1,547,539); Bank of America Merrill Lynch (€1,250,000); Goldman Sachs (€1,000,000); Morgan Stanley (€1,000,000); Royal Bank of Scotland (€900,000); and finally, the Alternative Investment Management Association which spends €800,000 a year lobbying the EU institutions on the interests of the global hedge fund industry. The top 50 UK finance lobby list includes some US corporations which nonetheless have a major base in London and form part of ‘the City of London’. There are few NGOs and trade unions which actively lobby on financial issues. Finance Watch is one such organisation, and it aims to “rebalance private and public interest representation, in order for finance to better serve society”. It declared €600,000 lobby spend in 2014, which represents just a fraction of the €25million spent by the top 12 biggest UK finance corporate lobbies. Moreover, the lobby spending power of these financial actors seems relatively stable. The 50 collectively declared a minimum spend of €32,481,613 the previous year (according to the lobby data available in May 2015). While most organisations made the same or higher declarations in May 2016 than in May 2015, some major organisations declared less in 2016 than in 2015. These include: AFME, Barclays, British Bankers Association, Lloyds, and Standard Chartered. This could reflect the fact that the 2013-2014 period (to which lobby declarations available in May 2015 are likely to relate) was a very busy time in terms of financial dossiers going through the EU decision-making process. In May 2015, six organisations, or 12 per cent of the 50 were not registered at all in the EU lobby register and only joined subsequently. All data correct as of 18 May 2016. The full report “Lobbying for the City of London: The firepower of the UK financial sector in Brussels” is available here: The full data set is available here: Table: Top 12 EU lobby spenders from UK finance lobby

  Financial actor May 2016 declared spend in € May 2015 declared spend in €
1 Association for Financial Markets in Europe 7,250,000 8,000,000
2 The Investment Association 3,000,000 3,000,000
3 The International Swaps and Derivatives Association 2,750,000 2,500,000
4 TheCityUK 2,000,000 2,000,000
5 British Bankers' Association 1,750,000 2,500,000
6 HSBC Holdings 1,750,000 1,250,000
7 Barclays 1,547,539 1,736,619
8 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 1,250,000 1,250,000
9 Goldman Sachs 1,000,000 700,000
10 Morgan Stanley 1,000,000 900,000
11 Royal Bank of Scotland 900,000 900,000
12 Alternative Investment Management Association 800,000 800,000
  Totals 24,997,539 25,536,619

Other recent articles

January 30th, 2017
by Vicky Cann
One way to assess the relative lobby power of the corporate sector versus the civil society sector (aside from spending levels) is to look at the numbers of lobbyists each sector deploys. Continue Reading
Google logo
December 12th, 2016
by Vicky Cann
Google is, without doubt, one of the most active lobbyists in Brussels. Continue Reading
November 9th, 2016
by Vicky Cann
Will the Commission proposal for a new lobby register lead to less lobbying being declared, rather than more? This is a real possibility if the Commission gets its way. Here is why. Continue Reading
September 1st, 2016
by Vicky Cann
Monitoring lobby data is more important than ever to expose the extent of corporate influence over EU decision making. The relaunch of popular database provides vital new tools for this, including a facility for tracking the lobby spending over several years. Continue Reading
September 1st, 2016
by Vicky Cann
New analysis by LobbyFacts reveals that 2013 was the tobacco industry lobby's top spending year. 2013 represents the height of the lobby battle over the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive and several key industry players dramatically increased their lobby spending to reflect that. Continue Reading
September 1st, 2016
by Vicky Cann
New analysis from LobbyFacts shows a consistent increase in car industry lobby spending from 2011, with a major increase in 2014. The declared spending for the car industry went from €7.6million in 2011 to €20.2million in 2014. Continue Reading