UK Looks to Hold Onto Global Finance Center Status

The U.K. will amend its banking rules to help London remain a global finance hub.

As Reuters reported Tuesday (Nov. 29), London city minister Andrew Griffith says financial services legislation up for approval in parliament will update financial rule books, make regulators more nimble and cut insurance capital buffers while still keeping standards high.

“The overall thrust of things is to allow more risk… You get rewards from taking risks…we just need to manage that in an appropriate way,” Griffith said during an event hosted by the Financial Times.

“We can make the U.K. a better place to be a bank, to release some of that trapped capital over time around the ring fence.”

The report notes that Brexit essentially cut London off from the European Union. The city also faces more competition from other financial centers, such as Frankfurt and Paris in Europe, to say nothing of places like Singapore and New York City.

Meanwhile, a new EU law will require European banks to move some of their clearing business from London to Frankfurt.

As PYMNTS wrote earlier this week, central banks in the eurozone had begun calling for euro clearing to be brought in-house even before Brexit. However, those calls have grown in volume in the past few years. 

With the backing of EU officials, clearing agencies in Europe have increased their share of the market for equities, bonds, and derivatives clearing in euros, which is something the London Stock Exchange’s (LSE) clearing house still dominates.

However, we noted data from Clarus indicates that the German clearing house Eurex has expanded its market share in recent years. And with the latest moves by Euronext, LCH will soon face more competition in this sector.

Meanwhile, the U.K. stock market has lost its position as the most-valued in Europe, with France claiming the top spot in the wake of a weak pound and the British economy officially moving into a recession.

Data suggests that the combined value of LSE-listed companies is about $2.821 trillion, while those listed on Euronext Paris are worth slightly more, around $2.823 trillion. In 2016, London’s stock exchange was worth a full trillion more than its French counterpart.