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Hammond makes Brexit promise to financial services

Hammond makes Brexit promise to financial services

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said the UK will remain a world leader in financial services after it leaves the European Union.

Mr Hammond made the comments as he visited financial centres in Halifax and Edinburgh today (17 May), where he also announced the appointment of two new regional fintech envoys.

He said: "Over a million people across the country are employed in our financial services sector, and it is truly a nationwide industry, with two thirds of the jobs based outside London.

"It fuels growth across the regions and is a vibrant part of our economy.

"Across the UK, from the local high streets to the regional financial centres, the skills and expertise of the people working in the sector are unrivalled, and I am determined to maintain our world-leading position at what is a crucial period for the industry."

While in Edinburgh, Mr Hammond met with representatives from the Scottish asset management sector and visited the headquarters of platform provider Nucleus.

He will announce today (17 May) that the new fintech envoy for Wales will be Richard Theo, co-founder and chief executive of robo-adviser Wealthify, and the new fintech envoy for Northern Ireland will be Georgina O'Leary, director of innovation, research and development at Allstate Northern Ireland.

They join the current envoys David Ferguson, chief executive of Nucleus, Louise Smith, head of current account design for RBS, David Duffy, chief executive of CYBG (Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank), and Chris Sier, professor of financial technology at the University of Leeds, in championing fintech in their regions and supporting its growth.

Mr Hammond said: "Fintech is the future of financial services, and the UK leads the world in harnessing its power.

"Our two new regional fintech envoys for Wales and Northern Ireland will help the sector to grow and flourish across the UK, bringing its benefits to every region.

"I would like to congratulate Richard Theo, and Georgina O'Leary on their new roles. 

"I am certain they will build on the success of the existing envoys in helping the UK to remain at the cutting edge of the digital revolution as we create an economy fit for the future."

Alan Solomons, director of Alpha Investments & Financial Planning, said: "We were a financial centre before we joined the European Union so presumably we will be subsequently. Whether it will be exactly the same is highly unlikely.

"I am sure certain things will be decamped to Europe and maybe as time goes by a centre will emerge in Europe that will challenge London but who knows? Brexit is generally not a good idea in my view, although I don't like the EU for various reasons.

"But we are where we are."

Mr Hammond's comments came less than 24 hours after fund giant M&G became the latest firm to shift European clients out of its UK fund range and into equivalent products domiciled in Luxembourg on fears around the consequences of Brexit.