The London monetary heart has to compete outdoors of Europe, says Barclays boss


LONDON: London’s post-Brexit financial services industry will have to compete more with New York and Singapore than with leading EU centers, said UK bank head Barclays.

“London doesn’t need to focus on Frankfurt or Paris, but on New York and Singapore,” added Jes Staley, an American banker who spent 30 years in senior positions at US financial services giant JPMorgan.

The British financial sector, which accounts for around 7 percent of the national economy, should emerge stronger from Brexit, according to the CEO.

“Brexit gives the UK the opportunity to define its own agenda,” he said, adding that he did not believe that deregulation was necessary to achieve that goal.

“And in setting this financial services agenda, the government should really focus on staying competitive with other markets outside of Europe – and I think that’s what they are focusing on.”

The UK’s exit from the EU was completed on January 1st.

However, the nation’s long-awaited Brexit trade deal with the EU, struck over Christmas, did not include the financial sector.

Brussels and London want to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on financial services by March.

The London financial sector is known as the City.

Jes Staley, CEO of Barclays. (Reuters file photo)

“What the UK and London need is to make sure the city is one of the best places to be, whether (in terms of) regulation or law or language or talent, managing those capital flows,” said Staley.

“Brexit is more than likely on the positive side than the negative,” Staley told the BBC.

New York came top in a September poll of global financial centers published by the Global Financial Centers Index, with London strengthening its position in second place.

While trading in euro stocks and some derivatives has moved to other European centers, including some to New York, since Brexit, no European competitor has emerged as the dominant force in the EU, and so London views New York, Shanghai, Tokyo , Hong Kong and Singapore as its true rivals.

London dominates the global foreign exchange market of $ 6.6 trillion per day, is the largest center for international banking and the second largest fintech center after the USA.

“What the UK and London need is to make sure the city is one of the best places to be, whether it is regulation, law, language or talent,” said Staley.

However, along the lines of other leaders in the City of London, he warned against a campfire of regulation.

“I wouldn’t burn a single piece of regulation,” added the head of Barclays, who employs around 50,000 people in the UK, around 20,000 outside the UK and 10,000 in the US.

“Some of the capital has moved, but London is obviously still the main hub for Barclays. There are some jobs going to Europe that would otherwise have been in the UK, but there are hundreds,” added Staley.