Britain cannot afford to shut door to EU banks after Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is predicted to maintain the door open for European Union banks and buyers after Brexit to attempt to protect London’s global monetary clout, regardless of whether or not it will get a great commerce deal from the bloc, bankers and business officers say.

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian shelters underneath an umbrella in entrance of the Bank of England, in London, Britain August 16, 2018. REUTERS/ Hannah McKay/File Photo

Nerves within the City of London monetary district had been rattled final month when the UK government proposed future monetary providers commerce with the EU primarily based on “reciprocal” preparations.

Bankers anxious this meant that if the EU didn’t give Britain broad market entry, London would impose tit-for-tat restrictions on EU banks and even tighten up treatment of all overseas lenders.

“But the Treasury later told us it does not mean that. Reciprocity would make the City very nervous,” a senior worldwide banker in London stated, talking on situation of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The Treasury had no speedy touch upon Tuesday.

At stake is without doubt one of the most liberal and profitable monetary providers commerce regimes within the world.

“The City has grown up by being everyone’s playground and that needs to continue. The White Paper was not to be read as limiting market access coming into the UK,” stated a senior monetary sector official, referring to the government’s Brexit plan revealed final month.

Britain permits non-EU “third country” banks to function as a wholesale – however not retail – department in London, which means it doesn’t require pricey capital cushions that subsidiaries have.

It additionally permits abroad entities to supply a wholesale service with no everlasting UK base, topic to some situations.

“The UK’s approach to third country firms may be regarded as one of the main factors which have made it one of the world’s leading financial centers,” stated a European Parliament research on Brexit.


Bankers are ready to see how EU financial institution branches in Britain and UK branches within the EU will likely be handled in future underneath any commerce settlement or no deal state of affairs.

UK policymakers say Britain ought to get good phrases as a result of the bloc wants City experience to handle 1.2 trillion kilos ($1.5 trillion) of belongings for EU buyers, difficulty bonds and float new firms.

The bloc can also be sluggish to create its personal capital markets union to substitute the City, and plenty of EU firms don’t need hikes in prices from fragmented markets, policymakers say.

But 43 % of UK worldwide and wholesale monetary providers income comes from the EU, the sector’s largest export market and price 26 billion kilos ($33 billion). Deutsche Bank estimates that Britain’s present account deficit could be 40 % increased with out this.

In an indication of UK warning, consultants suggested regulators to place their open strategy to overseas banks into query as a negotiating tactic, however the government didn’t need to do this, a senior monetary official stated.

Britain’s finance ministry stated in a June paper that if there was no transition deal to easy the Brexit course of after the official departure day in March 2019, then as a normal precept Britain would default to treating EU states largely because it does different third nations.

But there are situations the place “we would need to diverge from this approach,” it stated, with out elaborating. It is because of publish a brand new paper on no-deal contingency plans shortly.

The EU has additionally stated it would deal with Britain like different third nations.

“The EU has not given any indication that it won’t allow UK banks to establish branches in the bloc,” stated Vishal Vedi, Deloitte’s monetary providers Brexit chief.

Analysis chart:


In one other signal of pragmatism, Britain has proposed a “temporary permissions regime” to permit EU banks and insurers with branches in London to proceed working after March for 3 years, if there isn’t any transition interval.

The EU has not reciprocated for UK financial institution branches within the bloc, however is urging lenders within the City to will get licenses for his or her European hubs.

Andrew Bailey, head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, says a key query is whether or not EU prospects will likely be allowed to proceed doing business in London after Brexit. France has taken a tricky stance on City entry to the bloc.

“The FCA’s optimal position is open access, but if we can’t get that, what does the UK do?” stated Jonathan Herbst, a monetary providers lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright.

Britain can even be underneath stress to reply if Brussels rejects its calls to ease up the EU’s “equivalence” guidelines for market entry utilized by Japan and the United States. The guidelines give some market entry to third-country companies if their home regulators have equal insurance policies to these used within the EU.

The equivalence guidelines have additionally been put into UK legislation and in principle Britain might apply them towards the bloc in retaliation.

But irrespective of how tough the EU could also be in respect of UK companies attempting to do business there, Britain has no alternative however to stay with open borders, stated Simon Gleeson, a monetary providers lawyer at Clifford Chance.

“There isn’t any means the UK can go for tit-for-tat. What the UK can’t do is preserve openness for Americans and impose restrictions on Europeans. The solely leverage we have is that for those who minimize off entry to us, you’re hurting your self, “ he stated.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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