UK finance sector 'will emerge stronger from Brexit'

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is confident that Britain's financial services sector and the City of London will emerge from Brexit stronger and more dynamic.

City of London skyscape
The UK's financial services will emerge from the Brexit debacle "fitter, stronger and more dynamic than ever", International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has told an international finance forum in London.Pointing out that the City of London remained home to the world’s highest number of banks and the largest commercial insurance market, Dr Fox said that, since the EU referendum three years ago, the UK had not only maintained but even strengthened its position as a leading global financial centre.

City of London and UK financial services have thrived in the face of past threats

"Time and again doom-mongers have predicted the demise of the City. And time and again they have been proved wrong," he said."From the Big Bang deregulation of financial markets in 1986, when some predicted London would struggle to continue to compete as a global financial centre, to cries that the end was nigh for the City of London when the United Kingdom decided against joining the the 2008 financial crisis, which brought the sector to the brink - all wrong."But the City of London has not just survived the onslaught, it has positively thrived in the face of some formidable threats."

Dr Liam Fox: the City of London will emerge from Brexit stronger and more dynamic

"Now I understand people’s concerns – we are in the middle of a fundamental change of direction, and the unwillingness of parliament, I have to say, to give certainty exacerbates the situation. But I am convinced that when the dust settles the City of London will do what it always does, which is to emerge fitter, stronger and more dynamic than ever."Dr Fox said the government "firmly believed" the best approach was to leave the EU with a deal but he said that, whatever the eventual outcome, the government would never jeopardise the City’s success."We recognise your difficulties, we recognise your importance, and we want to work with you to give certainty and stability wherever possible as we move towards our new deep and special partnership with the European Union," he said.

UK International Trade Secretary: There is a world beyond Europe

"But it is also worth stressing, and I think it does not happen enough, that there is a world beyond Europe and there will be a time beyond Brexit."Britain stands on the brink of a new era in our trading history, continuing our close cooperation with our partners in European Union who still represent 44 per cent of our exports, while reaching out as an independent trading nation for the first time in 40 years to friends old and new in the wider world."Dr Fox said that fintech was "at the heart of our global technology and innovation strategy and our growth agenda". He added: "That’s why we are continuing to roll out our FinTech Bridges - links between Governments, regulators and private sectors - in priority global markets, from Singapore to China, from Hong Kong to Australia, where we launched our FinTech Bridge pilot programme last month."And these bridges will promote regulatory cooperation to reduce barriers to entry in one another’s markets. We are also working to leverage the UK’s unique expertise and capacities to assist development in emerging economies.

Liam Fox says that Britain will not become more introspective post Brexit, despite people's fears

"I know there are many people who are concerned that Brexit means Britain turning in on itself and becoming more introspective. Nothing could be further from the truth."As we leave the European Union we will become more open to the world, not less, and more open to the great opportunities that lie beyond European shores. The financial sector and its related professional services will be at the centre of these new opportunities. Never before have prospects globally been so great."At the same conference at the Guildhall in London, John Glen, the financial services minister, described the City as being in good health, especially as sectors such as fintech were growing.However, he accepted that the "slow and frustrating" process of trying to achieve a Brexit deal in parliament represented a "stubborn" shadow over the sector."I know the City wants and frankly deserves certainty, and I am sorry that I can't give that today," he said, adding that Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond would be meeting with leading figures from the financial sector to discuss how to ensure that Britain's business environment remained one of the most competitive in the world.

Read more about Brexit.

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