"Ludicrous, really sad, quite laughable": Michael Spencer in tirade against Brussels grab for London's euro clearing business

 
William Turvill
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Michael Spencer is chief executive of Nex Group, formerly known as Icap

“Extraordinary... retrograde... really nationalistic… really sad… ill-informed… ludicrous… preposterous… quite laughable.”

These are just a few of the words used by Nex Group chief executive Michael Spencer today as he condemned the prospect of the EU forcing euro clearing activity to be relocated from London into the Eurozone.

The euro derivatives clearing has emerged as one of the key battlegrounds of the European political landscape since the UK voted for Brexit. The European Commission is currently considering whether to attempt to force euro clearing firms to move from London to the EU.

Read more: EU be careful now: More warnings issued over clearing relocation policy

“I personally find the dialogue about the forced attempt to move euro swap clearing back to Europe as a pretty extraordinary and retrograde and really nationalistic movement,” Spencer said on a media call after Nex reported its full-year results today.

“Sadly, my opinion is that what the Europeans are discussing doing is a really sad and, if I might say, ill-informed because a piece of economic nationalism that is deeply against efficient and free markets,” he added.

“And the notion that for some reason the euro is a currency that the clearing house for euro derivatives has to be in Europe is ludicrous. I mean, we clear dollars successfully in London. We clear yen – nobody’s phoned London from Tokyo saying we must insist that your yen clearing in derivatives is moved back to Tokyo or Australia or New Zealand or Hong Kong or Singapore or Hungary or any other currency in the world.”

Read more: This is what Emmanuel Macron means for Brexit, the City and euro clearing

Spencer, who suggested French politicians are behind the idea, pointed out that companies currently choose to clear in London, rather than any other city.

He added: “The Europeans genuinely don’t know what they’re talking about. It is quite laughable.

“But it’s a sign regrettably of the adversarial nature at this stage of the Brexit debate and the aspirations, if I might say of some French politicians who bang the drum very aggressively about this.”

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