Not all businesses will be able to survive the coronavirus pandemic and there will be inevitable job losses as the country emerges from lockdown, Nicky Morgan has said.
Baroness Morgan of Cotes, the former Culture Secretary and chair of the Treasury Select Committee, said redundancies and company failures in certain sectors, such as hospitality, were unavoidable.
However, she added: "How the financial services sector responds to supporting those will be very important. Businesses that are perfectly viable but struggling to open will need support."
Speaking at the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) Virtual Fest today (3 June), Baroness Morgan said financial services had a big opportunity not only to support its customers but the wider economy in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
She explained: "Resilience was a word the PM used a lot in his last message to the country. This has been a challenge to businesses and individuals. This whole situation provides challenges but there is a real opportunity for financial services in how it responded and how it responds going forward.
"So far it has been good - rapid, proactive and can-do."
Baroness Morganadded: "The financial services sector is enormously important to the UK. This situation provides an opportunity for the whole sector to be seen to be responding.
"This time around, it is a healthcare crisis causing the issue. Banks, and many other firms, are in a stronger position [compared to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008] to support businesses and the economy."
Baroness Morgan also encouraged people across the industry to keep an open dialogue with government and regulators during the crisis.
"Financial services as an industry has the capacity to think about what is needed to support the economy. Do not underestimate the limited 'bandwidth' in Government," she explained.
Baroness Morgan urged professionals to share their views on any potential problems with proposed government interventions and suggest how things could be done better.
"There were teething problems with some of the schemes that have been put in place. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme came out of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme not working as it was supposed to.
"The Treasury has been very responsive. The Chancellor will listen to suggestions that are made.
"If you have views or can anticipate problems - you should feed them into the Treasury. Where problems have arisen then have been relayed to Treasury or regulators. That dialogue needs to continue."
She also said the financial services sector could do its part to support the government's 'levelling up' agenda and do what it could to assist graduates struggling to get a job in the current climate.
She suggested better use of the government's apprenticeship scheme and potential online internships for young people struggling to make get employment.