A view of the City of London at night, from Blackfriars Bridge. Photo: Richard Gray/EMPICS

Stay in the EU, and London becomes the world's indisputable financial centre

Britain has been world-leading when it comes to financial standards. If we stay in, we can become it's unquestioned financial centre, too
July 16, 2018

Inside the EU and with Trump as US president, London will have the chance to assume world leadership in the full array of financial and business services. The crisis showed that financial systems are only as strong as their weakest link.

Trump’s rolling back of the hard-won Dodd-Frank reforms again exposes US finance to endemic conflicts of interest and a multiplicity of undercapitalised banks undertaking business that they are not equipped to do.

This is an accident waiting to happen. London, more carefully regulated, would offer the largest and safest global market for money, credit and tradeable financial assets.

It would quickly restore its standing as the preferred location for global headquarters of financial and business services firms, a reputation that it is currently losing with Brexit.

All substantial financial centres need to be trusted, to be innovative, to abide by regulations and standards that limit excessive risk-taking and to have a substantial economic hinterland.

The reversal of Brexit would allow Britain to regain the role it has lost: inside the EU. Britain was the principal architect of the EU’s capital adequacy and regulatory regime, setting the terms for the world—a chief reason for global banks, insurance companies and asset management organisations to locate in the City.

If they met British and European standards, they knew they would meet global standards—and, by being here, also be in pole position to influence the decision-making process. At the same time, mutual recognition—so-called passporting rights—allowed companies operating in the UK to operate anywhere in the EU. Continental-wide savings could be funnelled into London as a result. As New York becomes a by-word for Trumpesque wild west finance, if Brexit stopped, London could become the unquestioned international financial centre.