Asia's key financial centres remain committed to the UK despite the Brexit vote, according to the City’s top lobbying body.
Policy documents from the Asia team at the City of London Corporation reveal it will “focus on” building relationships with China, India and Singapore in the next year to create “a bridge between London and Asia to discuss finance and services connections”.
The Brexit process will likely make it more difficult for foreigners using British financial services to access European markets, but the corporation said this would not diminish the opportunity in Asia for London.
The corporation warned the City needs to move swiftly to “ensure they view London as their number one partner in the west for financial and professional services”.
The biggest Asian nations are the current engines of growth in the global economy. With massive populations, China and India in particular are rapidly becoming wealthier. London has emerged as a key centre for Chinese financial institutions, and is home to 80 per cent of the world’s Masala bonds – rupee-denominated bonds listed outside of India.
Sherry Madera, City of London special adviser for Asia, wrote that “China’s commitment to the City remains unwavering” in notes from meetings with financial professionals across Asia from earlier in the year, first revealed by City A.M. last week.
However, uncertainty from the Brexit vote is viewed in China as “unwelcome, annoying and baffling in equal measures”, Madera added.
Forging stronger relationships with non-EU economies will be a key issue for post-Brexit Britain, according to City of London MP Mark Field. He said: “The City has traditionally looked to forming alliances with other international financial centres. Its willingness to make this happen as Brexit approaches will help persuade doubters that as we leave the EU the UK has a keen eye on our future as a global player.”
One such possibility is the “F4” arrangement suggested by Swiss financial services representatives, which would include the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Tighter links with Asian nations will be important for the UK post-Brexit, but should not limit engagement with other countries, according to Henry Newman, director of the Open Europe think tank. He said: “It’s obviously going to make sense for us to link up with other financial centres.”