FINANCIAL services firms are urging the government to clarify what will happen for the UK’s savings and investment industry in the case of a ‘hard Brexit’.
Tisa, the investments and savings association, has submitted proposals to the Treasury based on feedback from its member firms, who are all involved in the supply and distribution of savings and investment products and services.
It asked the government to speed up the approval process for new market participants, which it said would boost the UK’s fintech industry.
The recommendations come hot on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement last Sunday at the Conservative Party Conference that she will invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by March 2017, kicking off the UK’s exit from the EU.
In a speech on the first day of the conference in Birmingham she also gave details of a Great Repeal Bill which she said would end the primacy of EU laws in the UK. The Prime Minister indicated that she was leaning towards a ‘hard Brexit’ that would end freedom of movement and thus make free trade less likely.
Tisa said that its proposals are based on UK firms losing their ‘passporting’ rights and do not require the free movement of people.
The trade body is calling on the government to negotiate a “third country equivalence” agreement, so that UK savings and investment firms to do business easily in the EU. It is also calling for an “EU equivalent” regulatory framework for firms that want to trade financial services within the EU, with a simpler rulebook for firms that only want to service UK consumers.
Tisa also recommended that the UK uses Brexit as an opportunity to attract more non-EU financial services companies to operate here, through developing the correct regulations. It emphasised the importance of maintaining access to skilled finance services workers from the EU.
“We welcome the announcement on the Great Repeal Bill, but to protect the jobs of over a million people working in financial services and to allow UK financial services to prosper post-Brexit, it is vital that firms can see a clear vision of what the government’s negotiating stance will be so they can commence planning for its implementation,” said Tisa’s director general David Dalton-Brown.
“Government should task the FCA to commence work immediately on a domestic-only version of the regulatory rulebook. This should focus on cutting away most of the paperwork that consumers are expected to wade through to open a savings and investments account.
“We also need to dramatically speed up the process for authorising new market participants. It’s disappointing that many new authorisations for firms take so long and we can see other financial centres looking to attract business – and the UK’s growing fintech community – from the UK by offering attractive authorisation and support services.”