London
25 April 2017
Reporter: Stephanie Palmer
Hague: Financial services will thrive after Brexit
Lord William Hague sees a positive future for the UK’s financial services industry post-Brexit, but attendees at SWIFT Business Forum London were not so easily convinced.

In his keynote speech at the conference, the former head of the Conservative party suggested that as long as the industry remains open for business, it will remain strong.

But a poll of attendees revealed that 60 percent believe the UK financial services industry will merely survive outside of the EU, while 40 percent think it will thrive.

In his speech, Hague reminded delegates that a Brexit deal will be based on the “overall architecture”, saying “there isn’t going to be a brilliant deal for financial services and a terrible one for the car industry, or the other way around”.

The EU is strongly opposed to a sector-by-sector outcome. The overall architecture means ending free movement as it now exists, and therefore leaving the single market, and this will necessarily apply to financial services.

While there should be concern about any threat to the UK’s industry, Hague said: “it would be a mistake to be defeatist about this.”

There is “critical mass” in UK financial services that cannot be easily replicated elsewhere, he said, adding that this is “one of the most sophisticated and liquid markets in Europe”.

Hague said: “The key for the UK will be remaining open, whatever the outcome of the negotiations, to talent and business and markets from all over the world, while maintaining a highly competitive environment at the same time.”

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