British Invisibles (BI) is a corporate lobby group latterly known as International Financial Services London. It was founded in the late 1960s to promote UK financial businesses around the world. It sought liberalization of trade in services, particularly financial and related services—including legal, accountancy, consultancy and shipping—’invisibles’ being a technical term for services, investment income and transfers. It played an active role in forming and running national and European business coalitions. In 2001 BI changed its name to International Financial Services, London (IFSL).
BI formalized its access to key government bureaucrats through a committee structure that included sympathetic government officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), HM Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority (FSA). This Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) committee began meeting in the early 1980s with the aim of influencing the GATT negotiations. It became the main lobbying organization for the UK financial services industry.
- Douglas Hurd, former Chairman.
- Sharon Beder, Suiting Themselves: How Corporations Drive the Global Agenda, Earthscan, London, 2006, p. 138.