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The Uncertain Consequences of Brexit for UK-Based Financial Services

Nicholas Sowels
p. 195-211


The impact of Brexit on UK-based financial services is highly complex and uncertain to predict. At the time of writing (November 2017), the British government’s stated policy is to exit the EU, the Single Market and the Customs’ Union. Such hard Brexit will mean that UK-based financial companies will lose their “passporting” rights to operate in the rest of the EU. This will take some adjustment, especially for smaller players. Larger firms, however, are likely to be able to reorganise their business, albeit at some cost. Given the importance of finance to the functioning of market economies and the lobbying power of financial services firms, I conclude that the finance as a whole will navigate Brexit relatively smoothly.

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Extrait du texte

Ce document sera publié en ligne en texte intégral en novembre 2018.


Aspects of the equivalence regimes
Job losses and company strategies
The regulators and the negotiations

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Brexit is likely to have complex and as-yet unknown consequences for financial services produced in the UK. While few doubt that London will continue to be a major global financial centre, Brexit may well see some business move away from the UK. At the same time, the costs of financial services for the rest of Europe will rise.

The exact nature of Brexit is hard to forecast. The government’s official position set out in January 2017 states that the UK will leave both the Customs Union and the Single Market when it leaves the EU at the end of March 2019. In place of the existing links with the EU, Theresa May asserted that Britain wants to be a “best friend and neighbour to [its] European partners”.

In September 2017 in her Florence speech, Theresa May proposed that negotiations between the UK and the EU continue for a fixed time period after March 2019, so that a bespoke trade and economic relationship can be negotiated in detail : the British government subsequently agre...

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Référence papier

Nicholas Sowels, « The Uncertain Consequences of Brexit for UK-Based Financial Services », Observatoire de la société britannique, 21 | -1, 195-211.

Référence électronique

Nicholas Sowels, « The Uncertain Consequences of Brexit for UK-Based Financial Services », Observatoire de la société britannique [En ligne], 21 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2018, consulté le 18 septembre 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/osb.2294

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Nicholas Sowels

Maître de Conférences en Civilisation britannique à l'Université de Paris 1

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