A smooth exit from the EU and the rights of EU workers in the UK were among the dominant concerns of City and business groups after Article 50 was triggered.
“All existing EU member states have a mutual interest in securing a smooth exit and a new partnership that recognises the close ties between our financial systems. As we enter this next phase, it’s crucial that firms are confident they will be able to serve their customers once the UK has left the EU," said BBA chief executive Anthony Browne.
He added that a phased process of implementation was key to this smooth exit.
The Institute of Directors also called for the government to prioritise a smooth Brexit with the terms of the withdrawal deal and new trading arrangement both agreed "before we walk through the exit door".
CBI chairman Paul Drechsler said that some "early wins" would set the UK on the right path. "Most welcome of all would be the immediate guarantee of the right to remain for EU citizens here and UK nationals in Europe, which all governments agree is desirable," he said, adding: “Businesses will welcome the upfront commitment to an implementation period to rule out cliff-edges for firms on both sides of the Channel – though more detail will be needed.”
For the London Chambers of Commerce, security and visa are two top priorities. Its chief executive Colin Stanbridge said: "Given that economic uncertainty was businesses' biggest cause for concern in the wake of the referendum, we hope that now Brexit negotiations are set to begin, businesses will be offered a greater sense of security.
"They will be looking for real answers to questions about the exiting process and trade negotiations as well as addressing the need for a London Visa to ensure that London is able to continue to access the skills it needs."
Highlighting the need to preserve London’s status as one of the leading cities in the world to live, work in and visit, consultancy PWC said: “To do so, it will need to remain open and welcoming to key workers, not just from Europe but all over the world.”
The City of London Corporation called for reciprocal market access which is as close as possible to our existing arrangements.