Banks rea­dying to lea­ve Brexit Bri­tain: lob­by group

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

UNI­TED KINGDOM – In­ter­na­ti­o­nal banks ba­sed in Bri­tain are rea­dying to re­lo­ca­te so­me ope­ra­ti­ons out­si­de of the coun­try in 2017, fea­ring post-Brexit un­cer­tain­ty, the di­rec­tor of a po­werful ban­king lob­by said yes­ter­day. “Their hands are qui­ve­ring over the re­lo­ca­te but­ton”, Antho­ny Brow­ne, chief exe­cu­ti­ve of the Bri­tish Ban­kers’ As­so­ci­a­ti­on, wro­te in The Ob­ser­ver news­pa­per. He said banks we­re un­cer­tain about whe­ther they would be ab­le to of­fer ser­vi­ces across Eu­ro­pe on­ce Bri­tain lea­ves the EU in 2019, so we­re rea­dying for all even­tu­a­li­ties. Bri­tain has said it will trig­ger the two-year ne­go­ti­a­ti­ons clock be­fo­re lea­ving the EU bet­ween the New Year and the end of March.

Banks ha­ve cal­l­ed for tran­si­ti­on ar­ran­ge­ments to be put in pla­ce af­ter Bri­tain lea­ves the EU. Brow­ne said banks ba­sed in the UK we­re len­ding £1.1 tril­li­on ($1.3 tril­li­on, 1.2 tril­li­on eu­ros) to com­pa­nies and govern­ments in the rest of the Eu­ro­pean Union, kee­ping the con­ti­nent af­lo­at fi­nan­ci­al­ly. Free tra­de in fi­nan­ci­al ser­vi­ces bet­ween Bri­tain and con­ti­nen­tal Eu­ro­pe was worth mo­re than £20 bil­li­on, he said.

If Brexit is bun­g­led, that tra­de is at risk, and the pu­blic and po­li­ti­cal de­ba­te is ta­king them in the wrong di­rec­ti­on. Brow­ne said ban­king was pro­ba­bly mo­re af­fec­ted by Brexit than any other sec­tor of the eco­no­my, as it is ea­si­ly Bri­tain’s big­gest ex­port in­du­stry. “The pro­blem co­mes, as see­ms in­cre­a­sin­gly li­ke­ly, ju­d­ging by the rhe­to­ric, when na­ti­o­nal govern­ments try to use the EU exit ne­go­ti­a­ti­ons to build walls across the Chan­nel to split Eu­ro­pe’s in­te­gra­ted fi­nan­ci­al mar­ket in two, in or­der to for­ce jobs from Lon­don.”

It was ir­ra­ti­o­nal that the EU wan­ted to re­du­ce tra­de bar­riers with the Uni­ted Sta­tes and Ca­na­da and im­po­se them on Bri­tain, their big­gest tra­ding part­ner. “Banks might ho­pe for the best but ha­ve to plan for the worst”, he wro­te. Most in­ter­na­ti­o­nal banks now ha­ve pro­ject teams wor­king out which ope­ra­ti­ons they need to mo­ve to en­su­re they can con­ti­nue ser­ving cus­to­mers.

“Their hands are qui­ve­ring over the re­lo­ca­te but­ton. Ma­ny smal­ler banks plan to start re­lo­ca­ti­ons be­fo­re Christ­mas; big­ger banks are ex­pec­ted to start in the first quar­ter of next year. Lon­don will sur­vi­ve as a glo­bal fi­nan­ci­al cen­tre. “But put­ting up bar­riers to the tra­de in fi­nan­ci­al ser­vi­ces across the Chan­nel will ma­ke us all wor­se off, not just in the UK but in main­land Eu­ro­pe.”

(Jamaica ob­ser­ver)

A child is res­cued by Pro­ac­ti­va Open Arms, a nong­overn­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­ti­on, in ear­ly Oc­to­ber.


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