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Hedging their bets: the impact of Brexit on financial services


23 Nov 2017


Euro & Finance
UK in Europe

EMI and  ACCA discussed the impact of Brexit on the finance industry with key policy-makers and financial services experts in Brussels

With uncertainty surrounding the negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU, financial services firms in London, across Europe and all over the world still have no clear answers as to what the situation will be post-2019. After the UK becomes a third country, the EU will lose its main financial markets centre, and Brexit will mean the end of City of London firms’ automatic license to do business throughout the EU, the so-called passporting rights.

Considering the significance of the financial services sector for the European and global economy, the stakes could not be higher.  And while Brexit is a very important issue, the EU has also its own priorities for the future.

It is in this context that the European Movement International (EMI) and ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) brought together a full room of policy makers, industry representatives and many other civil society stakeholders in Brussels to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on the financial services industry.

Jo Leinen MEP and President of the EMI said: "the signal Brexit sends to Britain’s global partners can only be negative. It adversely affects the UK’s economy, hurts its main industry, weakens its standing in the world, diminishes its claim of being an open, trading nation and reduces its influence. It also compromises its security and its ability to shape the global decisions that affect it. Whichever way one looks at it, Brexit will have a regrettably negative effect"

The lively experts panel discussion, moderated by EMI’s Secretary General Petros Fassoulas, confirmed that fragmentation and uncertainty are the enemies of financial markets. All speakers stressed the importance of early clarity on transitional arrangements and contractual continuity, so businesses and the financial industry can plan accordingly.

The importance of avoiding further market fragmentation and of continuing and strengthening the Capital Markets Union was also clearly stated.

There was general consensus on that fact that we still don’t know how the post-Brexit world will look like. The EU-27 will be adjusting to the new reality and will need to develop its capital markets capacity to keep its competitiveness and attractiveness.

Richard Ashworth, MEP said:  “the next two weeks, preceding the December EU 27 Summit, will be crucial for deciding the future new relationship that the UK will have with the EU. To move to phase two of the negotiation, both the EU and the UK agreed at the outset that sufficient progress needs to be made on three main issues: citizen rights, Northern Ireland and the financial settlement. There is still work to be done. ”

Anthony Walters, Global Head of Public Affairs at ACCA concluded: “what was clear from the discussion is that financial services are desperate to get clarity on transitional arrangements. However, the value of a transition period is fast diminishing with financial services firms already starting to put contingency plans into action. Transitional plans agreed at the eleventh hour will be of little value to the financial services sector”.




Notes to editors

About the European Movement International                                          

The European Movement International is the largest pan-European network of pro-European organisations. It is present in over 30 countries and encompasses 36 International Associations, bringing together European business, trade unions, NGOs, political parties, local authorities and academia. Founded nearly 70 years ago, the European Movement has continuously advocated in favour of European co-operation and integration, based on the principles of peace, democracy, liberty, solidarity, equality, justice, the respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Today the European Movement seeks to provide a platform to encourage and facilitate the active participation of citizens and stakeholders from a cross-section of sectors in the development of European solutions to our common challenges. We offer thought leadership on the issues that confront Europe; we seek to inform the debates on our Union’s future, involve citizens and stakeholders in the decisions that affect them and influence policy-makers in favour of an open, inclusive, transparent, sustainable and united Europe.


About ACCA

Contact: Cecile Bonino, Head of EU Affairs,  tel: +32 (0) 2 286 11 37 or

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 181 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 95 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. It believes that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. ACCA’s core values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and it ensures that through its range of qualifications, it prepares accountants for business. ACCA seeks to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating its qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. More information is here:


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