Prime Minister tells bank bosses to remind Europe why the City is good for them

Downing Street told City bosses financial services will be a Brexit priority (Source: Getty)

The Prime Minister has urged City bosses to emphasise "the benefits for Europe as a whole of the UK’s financial centre" during their "conversations in European capitals", as the second phase of Brexit talks begins.

Theresa May and chancellor Philip Hammond this afternoon met chief executives from some of the world's biggest financial firms, including top bankers from Goldman Sachs, HSBC and JP Morgan, as part of an ongoing series of City meetings to discuss Brexit.

The City bosses present welcomed constructive discussions, according to multiple people with knowledge of the meeting, with the Prime Minister affirming the financial services sector will be a top priority during the upcoming Brexit trade talks.

Read more: Hammond to EU: Ditch the Brexit punishment and start talking trade

Bosses at the meeting were heartened by a government commitment to continue to take a leading role in international regulation, as the government emphasised London's financial services industry will not be a "rules-taker" after Brexit.

However, Barclays boss Jes Staley told May the UK's tax regime risked being uncompetitive for financial services. Staley highlighted the UK's bank levy, a tax on big lenders, and contrasted it with the more favourable US tax regime.

HSBC chairman Mark Tucker and Prudential chairman Paul Manduca attended, alongside Goldman Sachs' boss Richard Gnodde, Deutsche Bank chief John Cryan, UBS chairman Axel Weber and JP Morgan's Europe chief executive Viswas Raghavan.

Senior figures from Lloyds of London, Nomura, Blackrock, the London Stock Exchange, Intercontinential Exchange, Santander and Aviva were also there.

Read more: PM rules out payment for City's single market access after Brexit

Multiple meeting participants emphasised the need for rapid agreement on a transitional deal, although a Downing Street spokesperson said the conclusion of the first phase of talks had given firms reassurance.

During the meeting, in which May updated the firms on the latest in Brexit talks, Hammond also stressed the need to make "the interests of consumers and taxpayers central to the future regulatory relationship between the UK and EU", the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added: “The chancellor said that the UK’s financial services sector was an enabler of the real economy across Europe and that any moves to undermine it risked undermining Europe’s economies.

"There was agreement that fragmentation of the European market would likely benefit centres outside of Europe."

The meeting comes at a critical juncture in the negotiations, with transition the next issue on agenda, before trade will finally be discussed.

Earlier in the day the Prime Minister rejected a German plot to have the UK pay for single market access for the financial services sector.

Read more: Downing Street calls City chiefs in for latest Brexit meeting

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