Brexit poll paints confused picture for London's prospects

Brexit poll paints confused picture for London's prospects

As if to prove that the UK's banks are as clueless as the Government over the impact of Brexit on financial services, a new poll finds that while three quarters believe that London will remain the financial centre of Europe in five years time, 55% have set up Steering Committees to draw up relocation plans and contemplate their options in the event of British exile.

The survey of 80 capital markets executives by The Tabb Group on behalf of City consultancy Synechron, paints a confusing picture for a post-Brexit Britain. One of the major findings of the research conducted in September was that 72% of British bankers said they believed London would still be the financial centre of Europe in five years’ time.

Yet despite this, 55% have set up Brexit Steering Committees to prepare for life outside the EU. A popular topic for these committees is likely to be relocation from the UK to another European financial centre, which Synechron has calculated to cost an average of £50,000 per employee.

Synechron’s research also found 56% of senior British capital markets executives believe that compliance costs will increase following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), with not one executive expecting regulatory costs to decrease. This contrasts a popular view that Brexit would reduce red-tape for financial institutions.

Tim Cuddeford, managing director at Synechron Business Consulting says: “Banks are no longer waiting for the Government to trigger Article 50 and have begun setting up Steering Committees to plan for life outside the European Union, with some already considering relocating staff to other cities around Europe. Whilst Brexit poses an unforeseen challenge for financial institutions, the prospect of rising compliance and huge relocation costs appear inevitable.”

While the new relationship with the EU remains to be shaped, the survey indicates mixed views on how to proceed. 19% of respondents believe that the UK should pursue the ‘Norway option’ and negotiate to remain part of the European Economic Area, whilst 18% believe the UK should follow the ‘Swiss model’ and negotiate bilateral treaties.

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