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FCA’s Woolard blasts EU approach to Brexit talks

FCA’s Woolard blasts EU approach to Brexit talks

A senior director at the Financial Conduct Authority has chastised the European Union's (EU) approach to Brexit as not helpful for regulation and financial services.

Speaking at the Investment Association (IA) conference in London this morning (26 June), Christopher Woolard, executive director for strategy and competition at the regulator, said the EU approach to the negotiations that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” is a problem for financial services regulators.

Mr Woolard said the FCA is in ongoing talks with its European counterparts.

"[As] regulators we have to follow the political timetable, there has been a lot of conversations with the regulators in the EU, it is in everyone’s interests to do this because the markets are inter connected and it is important to have mutual recognition”.

But he added the current EU view “makes it very hard to pin down” a regulatory framework for financial services after Brexit.

He added that the EU stance “is not attractive”, for this reason.

Britain voted to leave the European Union group of 28 states in June 2016. In March 2017, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered by the UK government, meaning the country entered the formal process of withdrawal, which is timetabled to complete by March 2019, if an agreement can be reached among all the parties.

Before March 2019, one of the points on which an agreement must be reached is on cross-border trade, which is crucial to how UK financial services is able to operate, and how it is regulated.

As FTAdviser has previously reported, the chief executive of the FCA, Andrew Bailey, has said Brexit is not a reason for there to be restrictions on financial services and trade.  

Speaking at the same conference, Lord Mandelson, the former Labour cabinet minister and European Commisioner, said the problem the EU has is “there is nothing for them to discuss right now because the UK hasn’t decided what it wants, and the cabinet meeting where the UK government will decide what it wants to happen after Brexit will not happen until after the next European council meeting".

David.Thorpe@ft.com

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