City of London Corporation chief says there will be fewer finance job moves due to Brexit than first thought

Rebecca Smith
The City wants easy access for financial services firms in the UK and the EU to continue
The City wants easy access for financial services firms in the UK and the EU to continue (Source: Getty)

The City of London Corporation's policy chair has said the booming financial services industry looks set to lose considerably fewer jobs due to Brexit than originally thought.

In an interview with Reuters, Catherine McGuinness said the forecast had perked up in the wake of an agreement between Britain and the European Union on the principle of a transition deal and to discuss future trade relationships.

"The signs are positive, it is clear that the government is not only listening, but has understood our position," McGuinness said. "But now we have to persuade the EU27 to strike a deal which works for this sector."

Read more: Red alert on Brexit risks to financial services given by City lobbyists

She said the number of finance job moves as a result of Brexit are likely to be at the lower end of estimates ranging from 5,000 to 75,000 jobs, with the government keen to preserve the industry's standing.

French president Emmanuel Macron however, said this week during a visit to Britain that he would not allow Britain's financial industry to secure privileged access to the EU Single Market - a key sticking point for the City.

In an interview with the BBC yesterday, McGuinness reiterated a call for mutual market access for EU and UK financial services, and today told Reuters a deal was "absolutely possible" though she said Britain "will get less than what we have at the moment whatever the settlement".

The Bank of England said this month that a post-Brexit free trade deal including financial services could be completed in three years. It has also said it is possible to avoid the "two extremes" described by the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier, where UK financial services are either in the Single Market with passporting rights, or outside the EU and lose the ability to operate freely across the region.

Back in October, the Bank of England's deputy governor for financial stability Sir Jon Cunliffe, expressed confidence in the City of London's reputation as a financial hub post-Brexit, and said he did not see its success being replicated across the continent.

"It may be that some activities that are carried out in London have to move to the continent," he said. "And maybe some activities carried out in London no longer become efficient, and rather than moving to the continent, they just go back to New York or somewhere else, or maybe they don't happen at all."

He added: "But I don't see London as a financial centre being replicated on the continent anytime soon as it takes an awful lot of critical mass of expertise and knowledge."

Read more: Emmanuel Macron says there will be no special Brexit deal for the City

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