Leavers and Remainers launch group to untangle Brexit's mixed messages

Hayley Kirton
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The group wants to make sure government gets a clear message of businesses' Brexit needs (Source: Getty)

A new group uniting Bremainers and Brexiteers to create clear, neutral, evidence-based research on the issues stemming from the Referendum result launches today.

The Financial Services Negotiation Forum, or FSNForum for short, has already earmarked equivalence, euro-clearing, access to talent and market liquidity as research priorities.

Anthony Belchambers, chairman of the honorary advisory council of the FSNForum, told City A.M. the group was aiming to provide a clear message of what business needed from the Brexit deal.

"There is a need to bring this together in a way that the government is no longer getting mixed messages," he said.

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Members of FSNForum's honorary advisory council include outgoing director general of the Institute of Directors Simon Walker, Better Capital founder Jon Moulton, Conservative MP for Wimbledon Stephen Hammond and Conservative MEP Dr Charles Tannock.

"The UK's decision to leave the EU has generated a step change in our relations," said Tannock. "Reconciling political differences will not be easy, but an open market approach and a pro-business outcome to the negotiations is a 'win win' for Europe and all its stakeholders."

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Belchambers added:

During this time of post-Referendum disruption and confusion, there is a clear need for an inclusive, consensus-building forum and for objective, evidence-based research. The UK may be leaving the EU, but it remains firmly in Europe – a point often overlooked.

FSNForum, which has recently gained the support of Association of Corporate Treasurers and London First, will seek input from a range of firms, both in financial services and in other industries.

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"We are pleased to participate in this forum which will seek to apply clear analysis to the possible negotiation options," said Charlotte Morgan of the Association of Corporate Treasurers. "Together we need to minimise the additional costs on international trade that might arise as a result of Brexit, and to ensure that European financial institutions can continue to provide strong liquidity to European businesses."

What exactly the City needs from Brexit has been a topic of some debate, particularly when it comes to passporting rights for the financial services industry. Chief executive of the British Bankers' Association Anthony Browne recently took to his monthly newsletter to warn that some of the alternatives proposed for passporting, such as equivalence, may not be able to might the sector's needs.

However, a report by Open Europe earlier this week noted that different types of firms within the financial services sector were more reliant on passporting than others.

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