Post-Brexit talks over City’s EU access stalled, Sunak reveals | Financial sector
Talks to secure the City of London’s access to the EU have stalled, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed in his first Mansion House address to financiers, as he put in place sweeping reforms designed to help the UK financial sector seize global opportunities after Brexit.
Addressing a handpicked rally of 40 young financiers during a lite version of what was, in the days leading up to the pandemic, a historic annual rally, the Chancellor warned that a post-Brexit deal to achieve to a comprehensive financial services settlement with the EU “has not taken place”.
“Now we are moving forward, continuing to cooperate on issues of global finance, but each as a sovereign jurisdiction with its own priorities,” he said.
The Chancellor said Britain will now deviate from Brussels rules on financial services as he sets a vision for the City after Brexit.
Suggesting the UK would move away from Europe, Sunak said Britain would instead rely on deals like a financial services partnership signed with Singapore earlier this week – with plans to develop its activities in the Indo-Pacific, the United States and China.
However, Sunak also sent a message to Beijing that deepening economic ties will not come at the expense of Britain abandoning its principles.
Mansion House’s annual dinner, normally a lavish black-tie event in which city stars mingle with ministers of the day, has been replaced this year with a low-key breakfast, broadcast live on the Treasury’s Twitter account . The rally was Sunak’s first as chancellor, after last year’s dinner was canceled.
Speaking from the mayor’s residence at Mansion House, Sunak said Britain now has “the freedom to do things differently and better, and we intend to use it to the full.”
While his predecessors reportedly stood at banquet tables laden with wine and port in the building’s neoclassical Egyptian hall, the chancellor of teetotal delivered his speech to a lectern with a glass of water.
Sunak said a more nuanced relationship was needed while trying to take advantage of the country’s rapidly growing financial services market with assets worth over £ 40 billion.
The former chancellors have used the event to court Chinese companies. Sunak seemed more cautious, but while sacking Tory MPs who want to cut ties with Beijing, he stressed Britain needs a “mature and balanced relationship”.
“This means opening our eyes wide to their growing international influence and continuing to take a principled stance on issues that we believe are contrary to our values,” he said. “After all, principles only matter if they extend beyond our convenience.”
In his first speech at Mansion House as Chancellor, Sunak presented a roadmap for financial sector reforms which he said would boost Britain’s competitiveness after Brexit. However, he said the UK will continue to cooperate with Brussels and set high industrial standards.
Experts have warned that the separation of EU rules could make it harder for companies in the city to do business with mainland clients.
It comes as the government worries about a gradual drain of financial activities to EU financial centers such as Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin, after Brexit ended unhindered access to the single market for global banks based in London.
Earlier this year, Amsterdam overtook London as Europe’s largest equity trading center, dealing a symbolic blow to Britain’s status as the most important regional hub for international finance.
Government efforts have focused on securing “equivalence” for UK financial sector regulations in talks with Brussels – where both sides recognize each other’s rules as equivalent to theirs.
Focused on access for UK-based clearing houses – providers of financial market infrastructure that sit between banks’ trading activities – Sunak said there was “no substantive reason “so that they do not continue to serve customers in the EU.
“The EU will never have a reason to deny access to the UK due to poor regulatory standards,” he said.
It is, however, understood that the talks between London and Brussels have stalled, with the Chancellor believing that the ball is in the European Commission’s court to move the negotiations forward, and that the time has come to move forward with radical post-Brexit reforms.
As part of a commitment to maintain the City’s competitive position after leaving the EU, the Treasury has launched consultations on insurance sector reforms, wholesale capital market regulation and listing rules companies on the London Stock Exchange. He also pledged that tax rates on bank profits are not expected to increase significantly from current levels.
The Chancellor also confirmed that the government will sell green bonds to UK consumers, with the aim of making the UK the best place in the world for green finance. The Treasury plans to sell £ 15 billion in government bonds, as well as offer savings bonds to consumers through NS&I.