Financial Times: UK promises to prioritise financial services in Brexit deal

12 January 2018

Theresa May has told City of London bosses she will put financial services at the heart of a new trade deal with the EU, in the first formal meeting between the prime minister and the financial services sector on Brexit.

The prime minister also invited financial sector leaders — including senior figures from HSBC, Prudential, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase — to outline what they thought she should do to protect the size and influence of the City of London.

Some City bosses — led most vocally by Barclays boss Jes Staley — called for a loosening of the tax and regulatory requirements on the sector to maintain its competitiveness against rival financial centres, such as New York, according to two people in the meeting.

“Now they are rolling up their sleeves and getting down to the nitty gritty, which is good,” said one participant. “It was very practical, asking us what are the steps they need to take.”

“It’s clear the language has changed,” said another participant. “The mood music towards financial services companies is far more upbeat.” A third person, who was briefed on the discussion, said it was “encouraging and positive and people came away feeling like the sector is seen as a priority”.

Mrs May kicked off the meeting by stressing that the financial sector — the UK’s biggest source of exports and tax revenue — would be a priority for the government in the next round of Brexit negotiations. [...]

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