Can the City of London brush off the European threat to Financial Services?
One thing we can be certain about as far as Brexit is concerned is that things cannot remain the same. Giambrone believes that the financial services sector in the City of London is being circled by predatory EU rivals hoping to snatch at least some of the financial services market that the UK provides to the world.
Many financial service firms have chosen London as their headquarters purely for its superior expertise and access to the EU market. A significant number are reviewing their positions; not least because the Regulators are asking them to outline how they intend to maintain continuity of service post-Brexit.
Rival European cities have long envied the London financial supremacy, particularly as it is outside the eurozone. It has been noted that, ironically, some European cities who previously sneered at the world of high finance, are now courting the very bankers and fund managers who nearly destroyed the global banking system in 2008. There has been a flurry of corporate hospitality extended to these previously reviled financial players by lobbyists from various cities who aspire to fill the City of London’s very big shoes; if no-one else, the top ticket hotels and restaurants throughout London will welcome this strategy as a mini-bonanza.
So how do these European cities aim to match the London expertise when there is no obvious heir in Europe? The only city that comes close is Luxembourg which comes in at 18 (six places down from last year) in the Global Financial Centre Index as opposed to London being top just ahead of New York. Giambrone thinks that Theresa May and her government should think very carefully before imposing impossible restrictions on overseas workers as the City’s financial institutions gain the edge from their skilled employees many of whom are recruited across Europe. If Britain is to retain its financial crown and leading industries are thin on the ground in the UK, the capacity to recruit the very best is vital.
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