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Brexit: Finance firms need freedom to choose location

Britain, EU in a position to preserve free trade for financial services, says UK FCA chief executive

Reuters 

Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive, UK Financial Conduct Authority (Photo courtesy: Flickr)
Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive, UK Financial Conduct Authority (Photo courtesy: Flickr)

firms should not be forced by regulators to change location after Britain leaves the European Union in 2019, Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday. Banks, insurers and asset managers based in Britain are already making contingency plans to shift some operations to continental after takes effect in case access to the is closed off. But Bailey said Britain and the are in a position to preserve free trade for financial services, meaning such moves need not happen. "Firms should be able to take their own decisions on where they locate, subject to appropriate regulatory arrangements being in place which preserve the public interest," Bailey said, in his first major speech on since Britain triggered the formal divorce proceedings in March.

"Authorities should not dictate the location of firms," he told an audience in Canary Wharf, home to some of the world's biggest banks.

Future financial sector relations between Britain and the should be based on "mutual recognition" or regulatory cooperation "but not exact mirroring" of rules, Bailey said.

Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Dublin are all vying for a slice of Britain's industry after Bailey said such competition was good.

But he also said should not be used as an excuse to restrict the ability to have open markets and freedom of location.

"The roots exist to come out with sensible outcomes on this."

Some companies have already announced plans to move people to continental European locations to retain access to the Bailey said a transition period based on current trading arrangements was needed this year.

This would avoid a "regrettable" situation whereby firms had to "press the button" on moves to the before they know what the outcome of Britain's negotiations with the bloc will be.

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