Charles’s first career was with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, culminating as Director of Trade and Investment for China, based in the Embassy in Beijing, responsible also for Commercial Offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing. He undertook a two year secondment from the FCO to BI (British Invisibles), a predecessor to The CityUK, where he was an Executive Director and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, and also a Board member.
From 2004-2008 he was with the Group Strategy function of Royal Bank of Scotland, responsible for the China projects arising from the RBS investment in Bank of China, but with a portfolio that included oversight of the Group’s responses to Competition Inquiries and the publication of major corporate communication documents, including the Group Corporate Responsibility Report and the Annual Review. In 2008 he joined the Group Strategy function of HSBC, where he set up the Financial Sector Policy Unit, reporting to the Group Chairman, to coordinate the Group’s response to regulatory change after the financial crisis. The wider role of the function was to manage externalities impacting HSBC, including HSBC’s external public sector and academic relationships, and to develop a forward-looking agenda for infrastructure finance, sustainable finance, and SME finance. His team set up the Business Growth Fund (BGF) and drove the initiation of London as an international hub for the RMB.