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UK will ensure stability of financial sector - Brexit minister
[ LONDON] The British government will do whatever is needed to ensure the stability of the financial services sector and markets during the process of negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union, Brexit minister David Davis said on Thursday.
Britain's vote to leave the EU has rattled financial institutions based in London, raising the issue of whether they will have to relocate some or all of their operations to maintain access to the bloc's single market.
Addressing those concerns, Mr Davis told lawmakers the financial sector, often referred to as the City of London, would be of "great importance" in the Brexit negotiations. "We have to treat as absolutely central to what we do maintaining the stability of both the City, but also the European financial markets ... we will therefore do anything necessary," he told parliament.
When asked about a possible transitional arrangement designed to cover any gap between Britain completing its exit talks and agreeing a new trade deal with the bloc - something the financial sector is lobbying for - he said all options were being examined. "In the financial sector, as in other sectors, at the point of exit from the European Union, the standards, all the conventions, all of the regulations will be identical, so the transition should be capable of being managed very cleanly," he said.
Mr Davis was also quizzed on securing the future of the euro-denominated clearing industry - a major financial service currently dominated by London, but which other EU states have been keen to relocate to within the eurozone. "It is certainly one of our major aims," he said, adding that he wanted to make sure regulatory equivalence in that field was maintained.
On Wednesday, City minister Simon Kirby said that the future of London's financial clearing business was a significant consideration in Britain's negotiations on leaving the European Union, but was probably not a top priority for the government.