City of London grasping that EU will be closed for financial services, says lawmaker

Huw Jones
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The City of London financial district is seen with office skyscrapers commonly known as 'Cheesegrater', 'Gherkin' and 'Walkie Talkie' seen in London, Britain

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - The is a growing realisation that Britain should not wait for unlikely European Union access for financial services but get on with building a more competitive City of London, a senior lawmaker said on Thursday.

Britain left the bloc's orbit in December and its new trade deal with the EU does not include financial services.

Jonathan Hill, the former EU financial services commissioner who authored a report this month into easing UK listing rules, said he does not expect Brussels to grant any significant access to the City.

"A broader realisation that that isn't going to happen is spreading through the market," Hill told a Centre for Policy Studies think tank event.

The shift in euros share trading from London to Amsterdam in January "crystallised" minds, said Hill, a member of Britain's upper house of parliament.

"The worst possible thing you can do is just sit there and hope the Europeans will come to our rescue," Hill said.

"The politicians, the regulators and the market are now broadly aligned about the need to get on with constructing a more, nimble, competitive, dynamic regulatory future for the City."

City minister John Glen has said he will publish proposals later this year on making Britain's capital market more attractive and competitive.

Clare Cole, the Financial Conduct Authority's director of market oversight, said Brexit created an opportunity for a bottom up review of primary market rules and the challenges the City faces.

"We are not looking for change for the sake of change, we are not looking for quick fixes or seeking low standards," Cole said.

FCA recommendations on changing listing rules will be put out to public consultation soon, she said, adding there were other areas for potential reform like prospectuses and the bond market.

"It's mad that retail investors are not able to participate in really good quality bond offerings," Cole said.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)