CEOs and financiers heaped praise on the “ambitious” proposals which they said would “accelerate growth and boost competition”. This morning the Chancellor outlined his vision to turbocharge the country’s financial services sector now the UK was free from EU rules.
In his first Mansion House speech, traditionally an annual address given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the City of London financial district, Mr Sunak said Britain’s departure from the European Union was a unique opportunity to tailor rules while maintaining high regulatory standards and open markets.
He outlined his plans to slash “most ineffective and distortionary” red tape imposed on firms while Britain was an EU member and announced a series of public consultations would take place on reforms.
The series of announcements were met with a number of glowing endorsements as businesses commended the proposals.
Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association said: “Now is the time, as we emerge from the pandemic and with the opportunities presented to us post-Brexit, to build the right environment for financial services to thrive, delivering for our customers and the wider economy.
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“We welcome the clear vision set out by the Chancellor today and his plans to boost competitiveness and create a more open and sustainable future for financial services.”
Miles Celic, chief executive officer at TheCityUK, said: “I am delighted that the Chancellor has set out a positive vision to secure the UK’s global leadership in its most critical and global industry, its largest net exporter, and most significant taxpayer.
“Rishi Sunak is right to put openness, competitiveness, world-leading technology and green finance at the heart of his vision for financial services.
“Our industry is a dynamo that powers the rest of the economy and helps people in their everyday lives.
“It will also be a driver of the recovery from the pandemic and central to seizing the economic opportunities of the 21st century.
“It’s good to see that the Chancellor shares that ambition.”
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Mr Sunak’s speech outlining a global vision for UK businesses comes after two new finance deals were signed with Singapore and Switzerland.
Ministers are also in ongoing discussions with the US over grater financial markets access.
Mr Sunak said: “The US is already our biggest market, with the UK exporting 28 billion of financial services every year.
“Our ambition is to deepen regulatory co-operation even further, with our closest ally.”
However, he also confirmed Britain and the EU had failed to secure a deal on financial services, with Brussels not granting equivalence status – recognising the UK’s regulations as similarly robust to the bloc’s own – in a range of areas.
He said: “Our ambition had been to reach a comprehensive set of mutual decisions on financial services equivalence.
“That has not happened.”
Financial services was largely ignored in the UK-EU free trade agreement brokered on Christmas Eve last year.