A group of Eurosceptic City figures and politicians have created a new UK financial services lobby group in a bid to trumpet the sector’s success post-Brexit.
The body, launched yesterday, is called the CityUnited project and it aims to “combat and negate the EU’s actions” by “promoting bold new initiatives to exploit the UK’s expertise in financial services”.
The City lobby group will be chaired by ex-chief executive of the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange professor Daniel Hodson, with former chancellor Lord Norman Lamont and former MEP Lord Daniel Hannan on its board.
It comes as Amsterdam surpassed London as the largest share trading centre in January in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU’s single market and customs union.
The City also lost its previous EU-wide access to European financial markets on 31 December.
“New opportunities are opening up to secure the City’s global leadership in regulation and product development,” Hodson said.
“We see a massive chance to strengthen and enhance the UK’s existing position in global regulatory leadership, working in partnership with other major financial centres across the world, in contrast to the increasingly protectionist financial markets of the EU.”
The only way the City of London can regain its pre-Brexit access to the EU is if Brussels grants regulatory equivalence across 40 areas, however Brussels believes the UK is destined to diverge from its financial services regulations and has withheld the designation.
The Treasury is currently holding Memorandum of Understanding talks with the EU to ensure future regulatory cooperation around financial services.
The talks aim to put in place an agreement so that financial services regulators in the UK and EU share information and have open dialogue when making new regulatory decisions.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC yesterday that the City of London’s largest competitors post-Brexit will be in Asia and the US, not the EU.
“The crucial question for the EU, while it may be able if you like to nick a bit of business here or there from the City, but the problem is the measures they will take to achieve this will undermine their own competitiveness,” he said.
“The challenge to London as a global financial centre around the world will come from Tokyo, New York and other areas rather than those European hubs. Particularly if they start to erect barriers to trade and investment.”