By Anu Khurmi
Templar were delighted to attend the BBA Summer Reception at Westminster and the timing in July could not have been more interesting! Still reeling from the European Referendum result and the almost simultaneous resignation of one, and appointment of another, UK Prime Minister, there was plenty to mull over for all those who attended. The event, hosted by Anthony Browne, Chief Executive at the BBA, looked to provide a pragmatic and reassuring view at a time of huge uncertainty, especially with regards to the financial services sector and London’s role as an international business hub. On the eve of being announced as Chancellor, keynote guest speaker Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, openly acknowledged that the “financial services industry is probably the most directly affected” by the Brexit result, adding, “we will do our bit to get you the certainty you crave.”
This is a vast and complex issue with a London financial services sector that accounts for 10% of the UK’s GDP, 12% of the treasury’s tax receipts, and is the largest exporter of wholesale financial services in the world. The City is home to over 250 foreign banks, all of whom leverage the single market via Britain’s EU membership, and the sector employs over a million workers across the country and contributes to secondary jobs in the economy, a point acknowledged by Phillip Hammond in his keynote, “I know and understand the importance of pass-porting.”
As the early tumult caused by the Brexit decision turns into controversy and debate, it is for the government to pave the way for a reasoned debate on the decisions ahead; it was aptly summarised by Phillip Hammond at the end of his address that the only thing that will, “start to reduce uncertainty is when we (government) will set out more clearly the kind of arrangement we envisage going forward with the EU.” Let’s all hope the government can “proceed quickly and effectively” on an agenda that will be the future not just for the country’s financial services sector but for the whole nation.