An influential City lobby group believes Brexit is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to boost trade and investment into the UK – despite having previously campaigned to remain in the European Union.
TheCityUK says post-Brexit trade agreements could enhance London's status as a leading financial capital and could also create new growth opportunities for the sector across the UK.
In particular, the lobby group is urging the government to focus its trade policy on fast-growing countries, and encourage foreign direct investment from the Brics nations. The report also says the UK could take a lead role in areas such as data protection and cyber security.
"The UK is the leading exporter of financial services globally, generating a record high trade surplus in 2015 of $97bn (£77.5bn)," said Gary Campkin, director of policy and strategy at TheCityUK. "Around 40 per cent of the UK's trade surplus in financial services is with Europe.
"However, over the next 10 to 15 years, 90 per cent of global economic growth is expected to be generated outside Europe and these markets – developed and emerging – must be a priority focus for the country post-Brexit."
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In her long-awaited Brexit speech earlier this month, Theresa May promised "a bolder embrace of free trade" after the UK departed from the EU. However, the Prime Minister also warned EU states unwilling to play ball that she was willing to fall back on WTO rules if needs be, saying: "No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain."
Meanwhile, a survey published by the British Chambers of Commerce yesterday found 36 per cent of businesses plan to funnel more resources into exporting to European markets over the next five years.