So much has already been made of what Brexit will mean
for London's status as a global financial centre and this is
clearly uppermost in the minds of US financial services firms who
have long come to rely on the class-leading infrastructure and
highly skilled workforce that the City brings.
As things stand, it's very much business as usual but all
will be acutely aware of the pretenders to the financial throne
eagerly waiting in the wings to step in should market conditions in
the UK become especially unfavourable. Dublin for example has very
much been stepping up its game recently, gearing up its
infrastructure to attract business from across the pond but the
reality is, it and the likes of Paris and Frankfurt, while bonafide
financial centres in their own right, simply don't yet have the
offer to truly compete.
That said, London simply can't rest on its laurels. One of
the biggest concerns for US financial firms with major operations
in the UK will be the impact any tougher line on immigration policy
for skilled workers could have on the City's ingrained and
hard-won financial services culture. Should UK policymakers opt for
a harder line approach to Brexit, London's rich talent pool
could prove difficult to sustain and of course, recapture further
down the line. Indeed, this is mirrored by the survey findings
which show firms appear perfectly prepared to relocate from the UK
or indeed bypass it altogether in order to continue doing smooth
business with the EU.
As well as retaining access to a highly skilled workforce, US
firms (along with our own) will be watching for any sign that the
UK might retain the financial services passports which have given
this country access to European markets and which have been a
driving force for third country institutions to establish a base in
the UK. Access to technical skills, world class market
infrastructure and the EU financial services passport have combined
to make the City of London a potent magnet over the last few
decades for third country firms.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, financial services firms emerge as the
strongest in favour of a direct trade deal being established
between the two nations. With the biggest US market players already
firmly embedded in the UK, this would be a major boon for both
parties and could open up the possibility of the UK establishing
further deals with the particularly buoyant Asian and African
markets and all the pan global selling and partnership
opportunities that would bring.
While it appears firms are mindful of the need to bring in
external financial support to successfully navigate the
complexities of the Brexit process, we believe this is most
appropriate for smaller, support concerns. Given some of the
sector's various high profile regulatory challenges of recent
years, the largest players operate regulation and compliance
functions to dwarf even the largest of global law firms so will
have in depth Brexit scenario planning firmly on their radars.
Looking beyond this aspect, the benefits of US financial firms
maintaining the special relationship are manifest - for both London
and sector businesses across the UK.
Ultimately, while so much uncertainty exists around what type of
Brexit the UK will pursue, for the moment US financial services
firms are in a comfortable holding pattern above London, very much
hoping as much of the current status quo can be retained. As
lawmakers thrash out timescales for exiting the EU this position
could well change though. As such, major institutions and smaller
players alike will very much be keeping a keen eye on developments
over the coming months.
The Financial Conduct Authority FCA has published the interim feedback to the call for input to the post-implementation review of the FCA's crowdfunding rules (FS16/13) (the Interim Feedback Report)...
On 11 October 2016 the FRC published its advice to audit committee chairs and finance directors of listed companies, highlighting key issues and improvements it considers can be made to annual reports in the 2016 reporting season.
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