Leading banks set to withdraw from UK

Leading banks set to withdraw from UK

Leading banks are set to withdraw from Britain in the first few months of 2017 as fears grow over the so-called “hard-Brexit,” says the chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, Anthony Browne.

Under the “hard Brexit” formula, the UK may lose its preferential access to the EU’s single market and customs union that might potentially reintroduce tariff and non-tariff restrictions on British imports and exports.

According to Browne, big lenders, which are currently lending £1.1 trillion, will move their headquarters out of London’s financial district if Britain decides to go ahead with hard Brexit.

“Most international banks now have project teams working out which operations they need to move to ensure they can continue serving customers, the date by which this must happen, and how best to do it,” Browne said, according to The Observer.

“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,” he added.

Browne also warned that British and European politicians, who seem to be pursuing “anti-trade” goals, must recognize that “putting up barriers to the trade in financial services across the Channel will make us all worse off.”


Anthony Browne (Photo by Bloomberg)

Big companies, including Goldman Sachs, could leave the UK by early next year, but smaller groups could depart even sooner, The Observersaid.

Experts have already warned that leaving the EU will severely hurt London’s position as a financial hub, unless the UK decides to keep its access to the single market by loosening its stance on immigration.

On June 23, nearly 52 percent of British people voted to end their country’s 42-year membership in the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said early in October that she would formally begin the Brexit process by the end of March 2017, meaning that Britain would leave the bloc by spring 2019, before the country’s next general elections.

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