London city jobs could be lost, bank chief tells Tory Party conference fringe event
JOBS from the city of London could be lost to the continent unless the financial sector can be assured of continued access to vital European Union markets, a bank chief warned delegates at Tory conference fringe event in Birmingham.
Citi's UK boss James Bardrick said some banks would have to reduce their size in Britain and move staff and activities across the Channel without guarantees about their ability to operate in the remaining 27 EU nations after Brexit.
Under passporting rules, financial institutions set up in the UK are able to operate in other EU states.
Unless those rules are allowed to continue, or an equivalence regime is established, City institutions face the prospect of losing their ability to operate fully in the remaining EU states.
Mr Bardrick said banks would be reluctant to move from London because of the efficient operations and talented staff they have in the capital – but it would depend on the ability to operate.
And some firms may move staff to remaining EU members in order to hedge against future changes.
He said: "If the rules allow them, in the new relationship, to continue operating, I think many would be very pleased to do that. They may, for reasons of risk management – and having been reminded that things can and do change – want to have a more balanced model.
"It is unlikely that you would see such a high concentration in the UK to serve the whole of a region when the UK is not part of that economic region, not least because I think the EU countries will want to encourage and will take action to try and make people do that.
"In our case, and I can only really speak for ourselves, but I think people will think about it in the same way, there are significant costs of us changing and fragmenting the way we do business, it's quite efficient as it is."
Mr Bardrick acknowledged there were some "difficult trade-offs" in the negotiations the government would have, particularly if the EU's freedoms – including the freedom of movement -– were involved.