Bankers will get special travel rights in any Brexit deal, David Davis says


David DavisREUTERS/Francois Lenoir

LONDON — The City of London will be granted a special travel
regime once Britain leaves the European Union, which will allow
bankers and other financiers to move freely around the continent,
Brexit Secretary David Davis said on Tuesday evening.

In a speech at Swiss bank UBS’ annual European Conference,
Davis told an audience of UBS staff and clients that the UK
government wants to ensure that the City of London remains at the
heart of Europe’s financial services sector, and will place
special emphasis on the City as Brexit talks

“We want to ensure that our new partnership with the EU protects
the mobility of workers and professionals across the continent,”
he told the audience at London’s Landmark Hotel.

“Whether this means a bank temporarily moving a worker to
an office in Germany or a lawyer visiting a client in Paris, we
believe it is in the interests of both sides to see this

Davis and his allies believe that such transfers of staff
should be “treated differently” to other types of immigration,

according to a report of the speech by the Financial

Major financial institutions are currently making plans to
shift staff out of the UK as a result of the expected loss of
Britain’s so-called financial passport.

The passport is effectively a set of rules and regulations
that allow UK based financial firms to access customers and carry
out activities across Europe. Many non-EU lenders use the
passport to operate a hub in the UK and then sell services across
the 28-nation bloc.

Once Britain leaves the EU, however, it is almost certain
to lose passporting rights, which are tied strongly to membership
of the single market, a marketplace the UK intends to leave as
part of Brexit. This means that to continue providing clients
with comprehensive services across the EU after Brexit, many
lenders will need new branches.

Numerous senior figures in the UK’s financial system,
including several Bank of England policymakers, have warned that
financial services companies desperately need at least some
clarity on what Britain and the EU’s post-Brexit relationship
will look like, or risk wholesale staff shifts.

Banks need to make final decisions about moving staff by
the first quarter of next year at the latest. Banks need at least
a year, if not longer, to
set up fully functioning branches and subsidiaries in Europe to
maintain uninterrupted EU activities.

Davis used his speech on Tuesday to attempt to provide some
reassurance, saying that a transition deal with the EU will be
agreed “very early” in 2018.

“Boards have to meet their fiduciary duties and investors need to
make decisions critical to the future of their companies. Without
such an implementation period, some of these decisions would need
to be taken in January 2018.

“That is why we want to agree this period as soon as the EU
have a mandate to do so, which I believe can be done very early
next year.”


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