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The House of Commons has published a briefing paper entitled “Brexit: impact across policy areas”. This article summarises the paper's findings in relation to the impact upon financial services as this is of particular significance to corporate lawyers.
A large proportion of existing financial services regulation is derived from the EU. Since the financial crisis the UK has frequently led reform of financial services in the EU. The concern of the financial community is the form or extent that existing EU legislation remains in place.
The primary concern across all financial institutions is passporting; the future status of the UK in terms of access to the EU financial markets. To operate in EU countries, financial firms carrying out authorised activities have to be regulated. If they are headquartered and regulated in one Member State, they can operate in and sell to, other Member States without getting authorisation from each one. Therefore, London is currently an attractive place for international banks to establish a headquarters because with a UK authorisation, they can establish operations in all Member States. As authorisation of a large organisation is complex and costly, if the UK is outside the EU there is no certainty that firms would simply operate as before with a main operation in London.
A pro-market think tank, New Capital, has set out the implications that city firms will generally be considering in the aftermath of the Brexit vote:
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