Friday, 28 January 2022

Barclays: London will still be the ‘financial lungs’ of Europe

LONDON: The City of London will still be the ‘financial lungs’ of Europe after Brexit, Barclays chief executive Jes Staley has said. In separate remarks, the bank’s chairman John McFarlane also said the UK government supported a three year transition deal on the Brexit deal. The Barclays chiefs were both speaking in Davos at the World Economic Forum addressed by Prime Minister Theresa May this morning. Mrs May indicated in her landmark Brexit speech on Tuesday that she was open to agreeing a ‘phased’ deal to ease uncertainty and end fears of a ‘cliff edge’ on Britain’s membership of the EU.  The interventions by Barclays executives come after JP Morgan, HSBC and UBS all indicated Brexit would hit their London operations. Mr Staley admitted to concerns about ‘transition periods’ while Britain’s exit from the EU is negotiated, but said London will fend off attacks from Frankfurt and Paris. ‘I don’t believe the financial centre of Europe will leave the City of London,’ he told the BBC. ‘There are all sorts of reasons why I think the UK will continue to be the financial lungs for Europe.’ He added that with the US and the UK economies doing well, there is reason for optimism: ‘A political crisis doesn’t necessarily translate quickly into an economic crisis.’ Mr McFarlane told Reuters the Government backed a transitional deal because of the complexity of Brexit. He said: ‘We want a standstill arrangement for three years, that would kick in after the government’s negotiations on Brexit are finalised.’ The bank chairman said the City also expected to lose so-called ‘passporting’ rights to do financial business across Europe without local authorisations. Brexit Secretary David Davis yesterday suggested the Government wanted a transitional deal to last no more than two years. Stuart Gulliver, boss of British banking group HSBC, told Bloomberg Television the bank is on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London office to France, where it already has a full service universal bank after buying up Credit Commercial de France in 2002.

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