Brexit 

Growing expectation of hard Brexit among City workers

Growing expectation of hard Brexit among City workers

There is a growing expectation of a "hard Brexit" among investment professionals working in the UK, according to a survey by CFA UK.

The CFA, which represents 11,600 investment professionals in Britain, has seen expectations of the UK's departure from the European Union shift over the course of the past year.

While 67 per cent expected a soft Brexit this time last year, just 58 per cent did this year while the number expecting a hard Brexit increased from 17 per cent to 22.5 per cent.

There were also shifts in the responses relating to investment professionals' plans to continue working in the UK, with those expecting to stay increasing from 68 per cent to 69 per cent.

The proportion of EU investment professionals expecting to stay has increased from 43 per cent to 49 per cent but the the number of British investment professionals who now expect to leave was up from 5 per cent to 9 per cent.

Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA UK, said: "There’s good and bad news in this year’s survey. The good news is that more investment professionals, especially European investment professionals, expect to continue working in the UK post-Brexit. Yet more of those who were not sure about their intentions last year appear to be deciding to leave.

"Our survey did not ask them directly for their reasons, but the survey shows an increase in the number of respondents expecting a hard Brexit. Correlation is not causation, but it would be surprising if there was no relationship between these two results."

The number of respondents who felt their job was secure in light of Brexit has gone down from 60 per cent to 54 per cent.

The survey of more than 800 members revealed continuing concern about the future competitiveness of the City of London, with more than three quarters of all respondents - 77 per cent - still saying Brexit has damaged the competitiveness of the UK as a financial centre.

Mr Goodhart said: "It is reassuring that the results around the impact of Brexit on the competitiveness of the UK as a financial centre have not got much worse and, if anything, have improved marginally.

"My expectation would be that a hard Brexit outcome would see that survey result worsen. Our international respondents – whether from North America, Asia or elsewhere – largely continue to believe that a soft Brexit is the most likely outcome and would probably be surprised and disappointed by a hard Brexit."

damian.fantato@ft.com