The Bank of England is teaming up with the European Central Bank for a new working group on Brexit risks to financial services

Rebecca Smith
The Brexit countdown has begun

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank are teaming up for work on protecting the financial services industry from Brexit risks.

The European Commission and the Treasury have asked the two to set up a "technical working group" on risk management in the period around 30 March 2019. It will be chaired by the President of the ECB Mario Draghi, and Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England.

Chancellor Philip Hammond tweeted that the group will "provide further confidence to financial services firms as we exit the EU", though the statement from the Commission and the Treasury added that the primary responsibility for Brexit preparations rests with market participants.

Today we’ve announced a new regulatory working group between @bankofengland and @ecb. It’ll provide further confidence to financial services firms as we exit the EU.

Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) April 27, 2018

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The government said the technical work is separate from the ongoing negotiations on the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK, and from the negotiations of the framework for the future relationship between the rest of the bloc and Britain.

The European Commission and the Treasury will attend "as observers" to the group's meetings, and other relevant authorities will be invited on "an issue-specific basis".

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, said: "It is positive to see the European Commission and the UK government taking a pragmatic and prudent approach in managing potential risks in March 2019 resulting from the UK’s exit from the EU.

He added:

We hope that this joint technical working group will be able to provide firms and customers on both sides of the Channel with sufficient legal and regulatory certainty around issues such as contractual continuity and access to data.

Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “Not all challenges thrown up by Brexit can be solved by the industry, the UK or the EU in isolation. There are many practical issues which require close regulatory dialogue and cooperation. The new working group is a positive and pragmatic development. We look forward to engaging with it and are confident that real progress can be made quickly.

“This move should further reassure customers and clients that the authorities on both sides are committed to providing greater legal certainty and ensuring a smooth and orderly Brexit.”

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