Thursday 18 February 2021 6:11 pm

New City lobby: Big bank influence is holding UK financial services back post-Brexit

A new pro-Brexit City of London lobby group has taken aim at competitor The CityUK, saying that the established body is “dominated by multinational banks” that do not care about the UK’s prosperity.

The CityUnited project was formed earlier this week by a group of Eurosceptic City figures and politicians, with the group aiming to “combat and negate the EU’s actions” by “promoting bold new initiatives to exploit the UK’s expertise in financial services”.

Read more: Eurosceptic politicians form new post-Brexit City lobby group

Among its members are former chancellor Lord Norman Lamont and former MEP Lord Daniel Hannan.

CityUnited chair Daniel Hodson, former chief of Nationwide Building Society and London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange, told City A.M. that established financial services lobby The CityUK had not done a good job of representing the sector post-Brexit.

He said the group, which is run by senior figures from UK headquartered institutions, was influenced too much by multinational banks who still want to be tied to EU regulations.

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“The City got over Brexit, but the difficulty with The CityUK, even though it has good people and outreach, its views and policies are dominated by multinational banks that would like to be tied to the EU’s shirt tails,” Hodson said.

“Their shareholders are mainly based overseas and they don’t have the best future for London in their targets, they have their own profits in their targets.

“They have damped down The CityUK’s positioning and the trouble is that their views appear to be largely directed by those who would like to stay in the EU’s orbit.”

Hodson’s new group is pushing for the UK to move away from EU regulations on financial services and instead compete directly with the bloc.

The City lost its previous EU-wide access to European financial markets on 31 December and the UK is now free to set its own regulatory agenda on financial services.

Last month, Amsterdam surpassed London as the largest share trading centre.

The only way the City 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 Financial Times reported today that one potential change could be removing an EU regulation that limits banker bonuses to 100 per cent of their salary in most cases.

Hodson said that his new group would aim to influence regulatory decisions on financial services made by the Treasury and push for a move away from Brussels regulation.

The CityUK, meanwhile, has called for the EU to grant regulatory equivalence to the sector, while also calling for the UK government to provide more clarity on what future financial regulatory cooperation will look like post-Brexit.

“Equivalence is a Cheshire cat – if you get equivalence form the EU its political and  it can bee withdrawn,” Hodson said.

“I think the answer to that is getting away from our vision of open markets.”

He added: “When The CityUK’s agenda more represents ours would be the time for us to withdraw, but at they’re moment their equivocal.

Read more: City of London lobby urges EU to grant UK financial services firms widespread access to its markets

“Our intention is to try to persuade the policy makers at The City of London Corporation and so on that the game has to be changed.”

The CityUK declined to comment.

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