Regulation  

Fears mount about Brexit timetable for banks

Fears mount about Brexit timetable for banks

Concerns have been raised by the British Bankers’ Association about whether lenders will have enough time to make the changes they will need to when the UK exits the European Union.

Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the UK is waiting for Article 50 to be triggered, which will leave two years for the UK to leave the EU.

However, a number of spokespeople for the industry have said this is not long enough for the financial services industry to make a realistic transition.

Article continues after advert

Speaking in a House of Lords debate this morning (7 September), Andrew Gray, UK regional financial services leader of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, said: “Two years is an unrealistic time frame to expect financial services to plan for change and make the transition.”

Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, said: “Businesses need to be able to plan and there should be some form of transitional arrangements to enable them to plan.”

Speaking about the timeline of pulling the UK out of the EU, Mr Browne said: “It takes years to reallocate activities from the UK to elsewhere.

“The more certainty the government is able to give - and we totally understand it is bilateral - the less risk of disruption to financial services.”

In terms of Mr Browne’s future hopes for the UK banking system he said: “We want as full bilateral access as possible, as close to what we have at the moment as possible.”

George Hay, European financial editor of Breakingviews at Reuters, said there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the timetable for the UK leaving the EU and that will have some impact on businesses.

He said: “We are about to go into a hard nosed negotiation. The issue is how much of our hand we want to reveal early doors.

“From the bank’s perspective it would be useful to know what the government’s position is.”

However he added this might not be advantageous from the point of view of negotiating the best deal.

In July, Theresa May replaced David Cameron as prime minister and was viewed as a safe pair of hands to tackle the immense task of reconciling popular anti-EU sentiment with the near-impossibility of replicating anything as City-friendly as EU membership.”

At the time she became prime minister, Ms May said “Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it.”

ruth.gillbe@ft.com