New City minister Stephen Barclay aims for Brexit "slope" and will challenge "Wall Street image" of banking

William Turvill
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Stephen Barclay, formerly of Barclays, was named City minister earlier this month (Source: Getty)

The government’s new City minister today backed “a slope” Brexit over a “cliff edge”.

A former senior Barclays employee, Stephen Barclay also pledged to help the government understand banking, be mindful of the challenges it is facing and challenge the sector’s “Wall Street image”.

Speaking at a British Bankers’ Association conference, he said: “In leaving the EU, we need to prioritise British prosperity, recognising the need for an implementation period, so that we have a slope rather than a sudden cliff edge.”

He also sought to ease concerns around immigration and Brexit.

“I’ve heard a lot from people in financial services worrying about whether Brexit will constrain firms from recruiting the talent you need,” he said.

“That, to me, misunderstands both the will of parliament… There is no parliamentary appetite to stop the world’s brightest and best coming to our shores.”

He added: “The Wall Street image of banking is often very much at odds with the reality within the retail banking sector, the experience of cashiers [and] many branch staff up and down the country...

“I’m looking forward to working with you in the months ahead to ensure the role of retail banking is better understood in parliament. And I think often the understanding in parliament is not where it needs to be.”

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, also spoke at the BBA conference about how the regulator is conducting a review of retail banking business models.

The financial watchdog is consulting with stakeholders on the review and expects to be examining evidence into the first two quarters of next year.

“This is very much a piece of discovery work to start with, focusing on links between different products and services and their relative profitability,” he said.

“It includes the impact on different groups of customers. It should enable us to assess better the impact of changes – for instance in technology – on retail banking business models.”

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