City Moved on Passporting Months Ago Despite Remain Press Hype

The Remain press is going mad about Michel Barnier saying that banks in the UK will lose their financial passports. See the Indy and the Evening Standard for the usual hyped coverage. The truth is this is no surprise. The City retreated from its previous demand for an EU passport ages ago, with TheCityUK dropping passporting from its list of priorities as far back as January. The same month the International Regulatory Strategy Group, which is co-sponsored by TheCityUK and The City of London Corporation, published a report on “Alternatives to Passporting” and concluded “the focus of the Brexit negotiations should be on designing and delivering a bespoke UK-EU deal rather than reforming or adapting existing frameworks“. The City has long moved on from passporting, though still the Remain media is disingenuously throwing its toys out of the pram.

What do they think financial institutions have been doing for the past year and a half? It was obvious passporting would go, and its importance is often overstated anyway. As a spokesman for TheCityUK explains:
“For our industry, it isn’t the mechanism of the passport itself which is critical, it is the market access rights which passporting enables. That’s why we are seeking a bespoke deal which delivers the widest possible range of market access, similar or comparable to those we currently have. The best outcome will be a comprehensive and ambitious deal based on mutual regulatory recognition and cooperation. Achieving this would set a new gold standard for trade and investment agreements into the future and acknowledges the importance of services to both the UK and EU economies. Such a deal will enable the barrier-free market access that businesses and their customers and clients expect and require, keeping down costs and maximising efficiency.”

The big shift in recent months is that large banks are revising their estimated job moves downwards as they figure out ways to minimise disruption. Indeed, the Europeans are furious that banks are realising they don’t have to shift thousands, more like hundreds. Not that you’ll read that in the Indy or the Standard…


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