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    BARC   GB0031348658

BARCLAYS PLC

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Britain pursues Brexit finance plan, door open to EU firms

11/09/2020 | 01:51pm EDT
Britain's PM Johnson attends a news conference in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain left the door open for European Union financial firms to operate in Britain after a post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31, pledging on Monday to help "renew" the City of London's pre-eminence in global finance.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said he was no longer waiting for Brussels to decide on access to its markets in return and castigated the EU for holding out on a deal key to Britain's 130 billion-pound ($171 billion) financial sector.

"Where others might wish to use equivalence as a political weapon, that won't be our approach," Sunak told parliament.

The European Commission has said it was waiting for more information from Britain about its intentions to change financial rules before making further equivalence decisions.

Brussels grants access to its markets if the rules for foreign financial firms in their home country are deemed to be equivalent or as robust as regulation in the bloc.

The EU has said it will allow only UK clearing houses to access the bloc for 18 months from January, meaning the bulk of Britain's financial activities still face being cut off and forcing banks and insurers to use new hubs in the bloc.

London and Brussels remain locked in talks about a broader trade deal less than two months before the scheduled end to the transition period.

Access to EU markets for Britain's huge financial services industry is being treated separately.

Sunak said he would push ahead to grant access for a range of EU financial firms, but he also excluded some key sectors pending further negotiations.

"We are starting a new chapter in the history of financial services and renewing the UK's position as the world's pre-eminent financial centre," he added.

"By taking as many equivalence decisions as we can in the absence of clarity from the EU, we're doing what's right for the UK and providing firms with certainty and stability."

GREEN BONDS

Britain's access for EU financial firms would cover credit rating agencies, derivatives transactions, financial benchmarks and short-selling.

It would also avoid UK banks having to increase capital buffers to cover exposures to EU sovereign debt, but it did not include swathes of securities trading that form a core of existing cross-border activity.

The finance ministry said it was not ruling out further equivalence decisions if they were in Britain's interests and it remained open to further dialogue with the EU.

"This leaves out 99% of cross-border financial services and is unaccompanied by any corresponding move from the EU to benefit UK firms trading into Europe," Simon Morris, a financial lawyer at law firm CMS, said of the move.

Sunak set out other measures to bolster Britain's attractiveness, including a new taskforce to propose reforms to rules for companies that list in London, in a bid to compete with rival centres like New York in attracting tech firms.

He also announced plans for the first sale of "green" government bonds to raise funds for environmentally friendly investment.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said Sunak's announcements demonstrated a commitment to ensuring "our financial centre remains open to the world".

($1 = 0.7612 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken; Writing by William Schomberg and Huw Jones; Editing by Alexander Smith)

By Huw Jones and David Milliken


© Reuters 2020
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BARCLAYS PLC 0.01% 182.72 Delayed Quote.24.57%
EMINENCE ENTERPRISE LIMITED 0.00% 0.445 End-of-day quote.14.10%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) 0.10% 0.85347 Delayed Quote.-4.55%
HSBC HOLDINGS PLC 1.94% 376.05 Delayed Quote.-0.74%
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP PLC 0.61% 45.045 Delayed Quote.22.38%
LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE PLC -1.60% 8010 Delayed Quote.-11.08%
NATWEST GROUP PLC 0.47% 213 Delayed Quote.27.05%
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Financials
Sales 2021 21 415 M 29 420 M 29 420 M
Net income 2021 5 203 M 7 147 M 7 147 M
Net Debt 2021 - - -
P/E ratio 2021 6,09x
Yield 2021 3,45%
Capitalization 30 798 M 42 359 M 42 310 M
Capi. / Sales 2021 1,44x
Capi. / Sales 2022 1,41x
Nbr of Employees 83 000
Free-Float 99,6%
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Number of Analysts 23
Last Close Price 182,72 GBX
Average target price 224,58 GBX
Spread / Average Target 22,9%
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James Edward Staley Group Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Tushar Morzaria Group Finance Director & Executive Director
Nigel Paul Higgins Group Chairman
Mark Ashton Rigby Group Chief Operating Officer
Laura Padovani Group Chief Compliance Officer
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