A response to the Financial Times: We have no choice but to follow our customers

Sir, Your editorial “A strong City of London is vital for Brexit Britain” (November 17) in effect concludes that there will be no special deal for financial services. For those of us who have built a financial services business based in London but operating freely throughout the EU this means we will have to move part or all of our operations out of London. No ifs, no buts. We will follow our customers.

This is not exaggeration. It is just what we must do. London’s infrastructure, timezone and rule of law are irrelevant in making this decision.

In my own company’s case, approximately 75 per cent of our London-based revenues and 40 per cent of the taxes on the profits from those revenues will move out of the UK. Associated business with, for example, lawyers, accountants, PR agencies, compliance consultants, headhunters, retailers, restaurants, transport companies, estate agents and so on will also reduce proportionately with this shift in business.

As a measure of the likely scale of the impact, the Treasury might conduct a survey of all firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and identify the number of contracts (and confidentially the value) London authorised entities have with client counterparties based in continental Europe. Based on this information, one will get an indication of the scale of what will happen if there is no special treatment for London’s financial services industry. It will be significant, and as always the second and third-order effects will be beyond our expectations.

I sincerely hope that the Brexit negotiating team is working as hard as representatives from the Treasury have promised me to negotiate continued free access to EU markets for our London-based financial services businesses.

Letter to the Editor, Financial Times
Published November 21, 2017

Patrick Seely

Patrick Seely

Patrick is Managing Partner of Mooreland Partners. He joined the firm in 2005 and was one of the co-founders of the firm’s European practice. Patrick is a senior member of the Communications Technology and Enterprise Software teams with an emphasis on communications software, enterprise software and IT services.