Brexit party will not contest Tory seats at election (FT)

  • Nigel Farage on Monday gave Boris Johnson a boost by announcing his Brexit party will not contest any of the 317 seats won by the Conservatives at the last UK general election, and also hinted he could yet withdraw more parliamentary candidates.
  • Crucially, Mr Farage said his party would contest Labour-held constituencies at the December 12 election, in a move that could split the Leave vote in key target seats for the Tories and thereby undermine Mr Johnson’s hopes of winning a House of Commons majority.
  • The move by the Brexit party to stand aside in Tory-held seats will assist Mr Johnson in fending off the Liberal Democrats’ challenge in parts of southern England, and also help to stymie any Labour push in Conservative constituencies with relatively small majorities.
  • The Brexit party came first in May’s European elections but opinion polls have shown a steady decline in support since that high point when it secured 32 per cent of the vote. Now the party’s average poll ratings are below 10 per cent. 
  • Mr Johnson’s securing of a withdrawal agreement with the EU and his aggressive pursuit of Brexit has dented Mr Farage’s appeal, with many candidates in his new party wondering what purpose is served by fighting the Tories at the election.

Brexit in January 2020 won’t lift fog over UK markets, investors say (Reuters)

  • Asset managers speaking at the Reuters Investment Summit in London were broadly of the view that whichever party wins the election on the 12 December, Britain has dodged the worst-case scenario of a no-deal Brexit.
  • But they fear the new 31 January Brexit deadline only marks the start of a new headache — negotiating a lasting trade relationship with the EU by December 2020, when the transition period agreed with Brussels ends. Following that, trade deals must be also struck with the rest of the world.
  • If that takes more time than expected, it could lead businesses to hold off on much-needed investment, weakening growth and hurting markets even more, investors told the summit.
  • Sonja Laud, chief investment officer at Legal & General Investment Management, Britain’s biggest asset manager, said markets did not appear to have thought much about what would happen after January, assuming Brexit happens, and predicted they would do so only after the election.
  • “Reality might kick in when we have the first roadblock in terms of real negotiations,” she said, adding it could take as much as 3-4 years to strike a permanent agreement.
  • But the UK is nowhere near that stage — the process starts only after the withdrawal agreement is ratified by parliament. While Johnson has vowed not to extend Brexit beyond the January deadline, another hung parliament after the election could cause a delay, eating into the negotiation period.

Some banks slow in implementing Brexit plans – ECB’s Enria (Reuters)

  • European Union banks have put in place all the plans for Brexit but execution is lagging as lenders await the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU, European Central Bank banking supervisor Andrea Enria said on Monday.
  • Some banks planning to relocate to the EU are postponing moving staff and capital to the bloc, waiting to see whether Britain is headed for a hard Brexit or a negotiated exit, Enria told a conference organised by German newspaper Handelsblatt.
  • Many banks have already taken the step of moving employees and particular divisions to the bloc.

UK, US clearinghouses get ESMA guidance on post-Brexit restraints (MLex)

  • UK and US clearinghouses are facing new rules that could restrict or block their access to EU clients after Brexit have received guidance from European watchdogs that lays out those most likely to be affected.
  • Today’s guidance from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) to the European Commission forms part of new EU market-infrastructure legislation, known as EMIR 2.2, which is widely seen as politically inspired.
  • EMIR 2.2 would allow EU regulators to stop London-based clearinghouses from providing services in the bloc, as a last resort, if deemed to pose a risk to EU financial stability. While these laws are seen as a response to the UK’s withdrawal, they also draw in US clearinghouses, and the political fallout has spread to EU-US discussions.
  • ESMA was given the task of providing technical advice to the commission, which it has done today through suggesting criteria to determine whether an overseas clearinghouse is or could become systemically important — that is, a tier 2 central counterparty — and so possibly a risk and potentially subject to an EU access block. 
  • The authority’s guidance today also sets out the fees — reaching hundreds of thousands of euros — that non-EU clearinghouses will have to pay in order to be recognised as able to provide clearing services to clients within the bloc. 

Jessica's practice focuses on international trade and anti-bribery work, encompassing customs, export control and sanctions matters. Jessica's trade work includes advising international clients on fast-moving and evolving EU and UN sanctions, notably in respect of Iran and Russia, and on compliance with UK and EU export controls. Her trade experience also includes advising on tariff classification and customs valuations. Jessica's anti-bribery experience includes assisting with investigations, and advising clients on compliance with anti-bribery laws. Jessica has also taken a lead role in monitoring Brexit-related developments; analysing how they will affect the UK's trading position generally, and clients' businesses specifically. She has helped clients begin to conduct risk assessments of how Brexit will impact their businesses, and has assisted them in developing tailored Brexit strategies. Jessica also presents at various seminars, webinars, and conferences on the complexities of Brexit. Jessica advises global clients on complex issues arising from international transactions and works with clients across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, aviation, energy, and telecommunications. Jessica has also worked previously in Paris, and is fluent in French.

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