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World

Open the doors to City of London, UK lobby tells EU

  • So far, the EU has allowed data, critical in industries like financial services, to move freely until June pending its consideration of longer term arrangements.
02 Feb, 2021

LONDON: The European Union should open up to the City of London financial hub given that Britain's financial rules are identical to those in the bloc, a UK industry body said on Monday.

The EU-UK trade deal agreed in December does not cover financial market access, leaving the City largely adrift from its hitherto biggest customer since Jan. 1.

The City UK, which promotes Britain as a centre for financial and allied legal, accounting and consulting services that make up 10% of the UK economy, said the EU should grant Britain more "equivalence", or financial market access.

"We urge the EU to work with the UK on outstanding equivalence decisions in the interests of customers and clients in the EU," The City UK said in a paper on Monday.

It urged both sides to clarify a proposed memorandum that will govern financial sector relations in future.

"Key objectives should be to establish regular structured dialogue, including transparency, clarity and certainty on the unilateral processes of adoption, suspension and withdrawal of equivalence decisions," it said.

Trading in euro shares and some swaps has already left London for the EU and New York, and EU financial services chief Mairead McGuinness says Brussels would only consider market access if it was in the bloc's interests after the memorandum has been agreed.

The City UK said it was in the mutual interest of Britain and the EU to allow the free flow of personal data.

So far, the EU has allowed data, critical in industries like financial services, to move freely until June pending its consideration of longer term arrangements.

The City UK said Britain and the EU should flesh out mutual recognition of professional qualifications and give guidance on how UK nationals can navigate business travel in the bloc to minimise "friction" in trade.

Faced with the new restrictions, US law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, which has a base in London, said on Monday it would open an office in Brussels to continue offering advice on European regulatory issues to customers in the bloc.

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