Brexit naysayers have been confounded by the City of London’s resilience since Britain voted Leave in 2016, with almost £800billion in hedge fund cash having returned to the Square Mile, a financial analyst has said. David Buik also believes that, warts and all, London remains far and away the continent’s pre-eminent financial centre in comparison with “Mickey Mouse” Paris and Amsterdam.
Mr Buik was commenting on the findings of a new report by the European Union. This acknowledges that, despite apocalyptic predictions that the City would see more than 70,000 jobs relocated elsewhere after Brexit, the actual figure is barely a tenth of that.
He explained: “When it was announced that we were leaving, fund managers took a hell of a lot of money out of this country, about a trillion dollars’ worth [£800billion]. I was having a conversation with the Lord Mayor about a month ago, and he told me that it was his understanding that most of that money has returned to the UK.”
Mr Buik continued: “I don’t mean the same money, but that amount of money under fund management has returned and I find that very exciting. And the reason why is that it’s all very well hanging people out to dry in retribution for Brexit but at the end of the day, you have to be pragmatic.
“You can say what you like about London or UK or its government or anything but when it comes to the City of London, the prowess and the infrastructure and the quality of people’s dealing with it are so superior to anywhere else in the world. And when you couple that with London being the centre of the timezone, English being the international trading language of the world, it’s not surprising.”
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He said: “I don’t wish to be offensive in any way but centres like Paris, Amsterdam – and Amsterdam did very well after Brexit – they’re all Mickey Mouse centres in comparison to London. I think I’m right in saying that Paris, which is probably the largest, is not even in the top 10 in the world.”
It was also true to say most countries around the world, including the United States of America, based their legal framework the UK, Mr Buik said.
He added: “I think the legal system in the UK and the accountancy system in the UK is second to none. When you’ve got a combination of that, it’s pretty exciting, and once this government gets its backside and actually delivers a softening of regulatory requirements, and we get a climate for initial public offerings (IPOs) and for raising capital, which the world doesn’t have at the moment.
“The City has demonstrated its resilience in recent years but putting it in context, conditions at the moment at some of the medium-sized brokers is not good, because the business isn’t there. And you only have to look at Morgan Stanley’s and Goldman Sachs’ share prices which always thinks very important, because they are both underwater. Morgan Stanley is about 12 percent below the Plimsoll line and then I think Goldman Sachs is at about three percent.”
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The report, published earlier this month, looks at the implementation of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed at the end of 2020. It points out that after the TCA came into force, a number of London-based financial services firms announced their intentions to relocate some assets to EU countries.
Some estimates suggested 44 percent of the UK’s largest such firms would be pulling some staff or operations out of the City – but added that “the number of jobs that have relocated out of London thus far is only 7,000 and far below the initial estimates of 75,000”. In addition a Peer review into the NCAs’ handling of relocation to the EU in the context of Brexit “has identified some shortcomings in relation to how Member States’ competent authorities have handled the relocation process”, the report admits.
Furthermore it “welcomes the European Supervisory Authorities’ continued monitoring of supervisory practices in assessing the relocation of firms to the EU” and “stresses the need to continue working to complete the Banking Union and deepen the Capital Markets Union in order to prevent the further concentration of financial hubs and to reap the benefits of efficiencies of scale”.
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