The boss of Switzerland’s biggest stock exchange has warned Britain to be ready to protect its financial services industry against measures from the European Union.
Jos Dijsselhof’s Zurich-based Six exchange is at the centre of the EU’s row with Switzerland over trading that has seen each side block the other from its equity trading markets.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: “The government should be ready to act to protect the UK. That’s what the Swiss government has done, quickly put in emergency laws.”
Many in the UK fear that the spat between the EU and Switzerland is a portent of things to come for Britain.
In July, the bloc banned its investors from trading on Swiss stock exchanges after becoming frustrated by Switzerland’s perceived lack of action on a partnership agreement that would deepen ties between the two sides.
In response, Switzerland blocked stock exchanges in the EU from trading Swiss shares, which include the giant Nestle.
At the centre of the argument was the EU’s “equivalence” status, which lets the shares of foreign companies be traded in EU exchanges if their home country’s rules align with those of the bloc.
While included in the UK’s deal with the EU, there is great uncertainty over what shape an eventual deal will take and fears that the bloc can withdraw equivalency status with damaging effects.
“There are risks of London losing business,” Dijsselhof said. “There should be a law ready to say, if you do this to us, we will retaliate.”
Dijsselhof told Reuters the EU’s crackdown had backfired and led to Switzerland-listed firms’ shares being traded almost entirely in Switzerland. Six’s year-on-year turnover in August jumped 51 per cent.