May 14, 2021

The City aspires “to the greatest possible access” to the EU with “regulatory autonomy”

The British financial sector aims to obtain in the negotiation with the European Union (EU) “the greatest possible access” to the single market but “with regulatory autonomy,” said Catherine McGuinness, director of policies of the City of London Corporation today, The city hall of the finance district.

In a meeting with journalists, McGuinness said that the session will put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, so that in the negotiation with Brussels of a commercial agreement after Brexit prioritize the interests of the services sector, engine of the economy of the Kingdom United, although “not as picturesque” as the fishing boat.

The political “ambassador” of the City – as the London square mile is known where the main financial institutions are located – said that, to facilitate operations between both markets (community and British), the ideal would be to agree on a “more ambitious” regime than the current regulatory equivalence system that the EU applies to allow financial access to third countries.

If that custom-made framework were not possible, the City wishes to “improve” the current equivalence system, as it is “politically and easily revocable, with little notice,” which does not give “enough certainty” to the companies, he said.

McGuinness pointed out that, in case of not getting what he wants, the British Government should not react “vengefully” shielding its financial sector, but that “the City must remain open, without barriers, because it is the essence of this country and this city “.

Although, after Brexit, the British financial sector wants “regulatory autonomy” to better manage itself, this does not mean that it seeks a great “divergence” or distancing from community regulations, said municipal policy, which stressed: “nobody in the City claims a normative bonfire. “

“It is a fundamental part of this place to be well regulated. In the future we will need a solid regulation based on global standards to address new challenges such as green and technological finance or cyber attacks and cryptocurrencies (virtual currencies),” he said.

He stressed the importance of strong regulatory and supervisory cooperation with the EU, and noted that this friendly relationship is convenient for both parties, as London “will continue to be the global financial center of the European continent.”

McGuinness said that the exit of the block, culminated on January 31, has not meant a great loss of jobs for the City – some 7,000 have moved to Frankfurt, Luxembourg or Dublin – and instead the creation of about 100,000 new ones is expected 2030 jobs in the “buoyant” fintech sector or financial services technology companies.

Regarding the ability to attract qualified personnel, the policy admitted that it “worries a little” that the point migration system planned by the Conservative Government is not “flexible enough” to capture the “international talent” from which the sector is nurtured, for which will advocate for an “agile and effective” regime.

McGuinness was confident in Johnson’s “pro-business” instinct, which yesterday set out its priorities in negotiating a free trade agreement with the Twenty-seven, which will begin in March.

Johnson revealed that he wants a treaty similar to the EU Global Economic and Commercial Agreement (CETA) with Canada – which covers mostly the goods and services sector – without the obligation to comply with the rules and standards of the single Community market .

In its negotiation plan subsequently sent to Parliament, the Government states that any trade agreement with the EU must include “significant provisions” for the services sector, in order to “minimize barriers in the cross-border supply of services and investment”.

He adds that, in “key areas of interest,” such as professional and business services, the parties can go “beyond” the basic obligations in such treaties, and notes that they want to support the development of “digital commerce.”

According to the text, the Executive expects the agreement to create a “predictable, transparent and business-friendly environment” that guarantees financial stability and “contains obligations on market access and fair competition.”

Waiting to see the negotiations progress, which must be concluded on December 31, the City Corporation does not doubt that London will remain a global financial center, boosted by emerging sectors such as green and technological finance.

Judith Mora


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