UK banking lobby urges competitiveness, proportionality in post-Brexit rulesMLex

  • A major UK banking lobby group has urged the government to prioritize the country’s post-Brexit standing and to tweak rules for smaller players as it sets out the next chapter of financial services regulation.
  • The UK’s revamped regulatory framework should “take advantage of the opportunity afforded by Brexit” to tailor rules to the country’s institutions and “differentiate the UK as the best place in the world in and from which to provide financial services,” UK Finance, which represents over 250 financial institutions, said in a paper today (see here).
  • The document was prepared in response to the finance ministry’s consultation reviewing the framework of post-Brexit financial rulemaking.
  • Competitiveness and proportionality should be “keystones” of post-Brexit rules, said UK Finance, but at the same time the group urged regulators to subject institutions of any size to the same rules if their activities pose the same risks as larger companies. 
  • Regulators should follow a set of core standards, against which proposals should be tested, the group said, including proportionate and competitive regulation, and a more open and less prescriptive set of rules that can adapt to market changes and emerging risks. 
  • The call reopens the debate over whether regulators should be given a competitiveness goal as one of their primary objectives. So far, the government has declined to do so although it has obliged the Bank of England to consider the country’s standing in writing capital rules for banks (see here). 
  • These standards should be at the forefront of policymakers’ and regulators’ minds, UK Finance said, as changes to EU legislation are made in the UK. The country’s statute book is now made up of copied and pasted Brussels rules, so that legislation was ready for the start of this year when the Brexit transition period expired. 
  • Priorities should be given to regulatory measures where “the greatest concerns about the existing rules and the greatest opportunities to promote UK competitiveness exist,” the group said, including a review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, where certain amendments could boost the UK’s competitive position. 

Brexit: 1,000 EU finance firms ‘set to open UK offices’ – BBC

  • A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by financial consultancy Bovillfound that 1,500 money managers, payment firms and insurers have applied for permission to continue operating in the UK after Brexit.
  • Around two-thirds had no prior physical operations in Britain, it said. It suggests London “is set to remain a key global financial centre”, it added.
  • “Many of these European firms will be opening offices for the first time, which is good news for UK professional advice firms across multiple industries including lawyers, accountants, consultants and recruiters.” said Mike Johnson, managing consultant at Bovill. He added that business from the firms should provide a welcome boost to the service sector, too.
  • Last month, London was ousted by Amsterdam as the largest share-trading centre in Europe as Brexit-related changes to finance rules came into force.
  • Bovill’s analysis of the FOI request with the Financial Conduct Authority found that more than 400 insurance firms as well as more than 100 banks plan to move to or boost their presence in the UK.
  • Geographically, the highest number of applications came from companies in Ireland, France and Germany – some 230 Irish firms were on the list, with 186 from France and 168 from Germany.
  • Firms from the three accounted for more than a third of the 1,476 applications for authorisation to do business in the UK.  “Ireland at the top of the list is to be expected, given how interlinked the UK and Irish economies are and their shared strength in asset management, a relationship which these numbers suggest will continue post-Brexit,” said Mr Johnson.

NI supermarkets face new rules for GB meat products – BBC

  • Supermarkets bringing meat products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland face new bureaucracy from Monday. The change is a consequence of Brexit and the Irish Sea border.
  • Retailers must now use Export Health Certificates (EHCs) to import chilled, processed meat – this covers products like fresh sausages and minced meat.
  • NI has remained part of the EU’s single market for goods, which means that food products entering from the rest of the UK must undergo EU import procedures.
  • Central to this are EHCs – a certificate signed by a vet for every consignment of products of animal origin – meat, fish, dairy and eggs. Supermarkets have been given a “grace period” until April where they do not need EHCs for most products. However, the EU considers some meat products to be high-risk goods so they now require EHCs.
  • Retailers see the new processes for meat as the first real test for how the EHC process will work when the grace period expires. The UK government has asked the EU to extend the grace periods until 2023. The Joint Committee, the UK-EU body overseeing the NI Brexit deal, will meet this week and may reach a decision on grace periods.
  • Some meat products face an outright ban from GB-NI export in July unless further agreement can be reached.
  • The UK government is helping businesses with the cost of EHCs through its Movement Assistance Scheme.

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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