Hargreaves Lansdown founder Peter Hargreaves has doubled down on his support for a Brexit, saying the investment community has nothing to fear as other European capitals do not have the expertise to be found in London.
Speaking to the BBC Today programme on 18 March, he said: “We raise money for the Russians, we raise money all over the world for countries that are not in Europe, there isn’t the expertise in Frankfurt and Paris to do that.
“You can’t suddenly have the expertise to do it, because they don’t want to use London. They’ve got to use London. London can raise billions on a few phone calls. Nowhere else can they do that, and most people who work in the city wouldn’t want to work in Paris and be taxed to the hilt.
“Most people don’t want to work in Frankfurt,” he continued. “They want to work in London because London’s a fantastic place to work. These people aren’t going to move, so if people want it done they’ve got to come to London because that’s where we are.”
A poll by the Personal Finance Society earlier this month found that advisers were equally divided over the split.
Mr Hargreaves, who is a vocal Brexit supporter, also said the move would provide the UK with an impetus to innovate.
“The one big thing in all this, and I’m firmly convinced that if, hopefully, we decide to leave, that little bit of insecurity, that little bit of unknown, will be an absolute fillip to everyone. It will be a great incentive to us to go out and prove that it’s right.”
He said this happened when Singapore became independent from Malaysia. He added: “That little insecurity, that they were no longer part of Malaysia, was an inspiration and, it’s now probably the greatest economy in the world. I honestly believe it will be good for us as well. That little bit of insecurity will be fantastic stimulus for us.”
Addressing the issue of EU workers and talent already in the country, he said: “I hope the ones who have gainful employment here we’d keep. We will always import people to do the jobs that we need here.
“We import Filipino nurses. They aren’t part of the EU. We employ people from all over the world to help us with the jobs that need doing here. It won’t stop us importing Polish workers and other people from the EU.”
Claire Walsh, chartered financial planner at Brighton-based Aspect 8, said: “Like a lot of people, I worry about the uncertainty and the repercussions. I’m not disagreeing with Peter Hargreaves, what he said is probably true. But a lot of companies listed in the UK do a lot of work overseas, which has implications for trade. As with the Scottish referendum, companies started looking to relocate to London, like Scottish Widows did.