On Thursday 26 April, the Chamber’s #AGENDA2018 policy series kindly sponsored by KPMG and Ulster Bank continued in London with “International Financial Services in Ireland and the UK in a post-Brexit world”. EU market access for UK financial services post-Brexit and Ireland’s position as a sectoral hub were the subjects for discussion by British and Irish politicians, regulators and business leaders at the seminar.
The theme of the seminar was particularly timely given comments recently by European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis that equivalence is the most pragmatic solution to ensuring EU market access by UK financial services post-2019.
In his keynote address, the Minister for Financial Services and Insurance Michael D’Arcy TD outlined the Irish Government’s strategy for the development of the financial services sector. With only 332 days until the UK withdraws from the EU, Brexit fast-forwards the need to reflect on Ireland’s position as an international financial services hub and on harnessing the opportunities the UK’s exit presents to increase the size of the Fintech industry and broaden the range of financial services activities undertaken on this island.
Following the event, Minister D’Arcy said: “Although there are many challenges arising from the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Ireland can provide a solution for those companies that require access to the single market. To ensure we continue to grow our financial services sector, the Government developed the IFS2020 Strategy in 2015, which has a clear vision for Ireland to be the recognised global location of choice for specialist international financial services. The Strategy has an ambitious target to increase direct employment in the sector by 10,000 net new jobs. Our 2018 priorities include Investment Limited Partnership Legislation, Green and Sustainable Finance, Regional Measures, Skills and Development, Aviation Finance and Financial Market Infrastructure. Today’s event marks an important occasion to take stock of our efforts”.
The Minister’s address was followed by a keynote address by Catherine McGuinness, Chairman, Policy and Resources at the City of London Corporation who outlined the potential future market access framework for UK financial services post-Brexit. This was followed by a speech by Gerry Cross, Director of Policy and Risk at the Central Bank of Ireland who provided insight into the future regulatory framework for international financial services post-Brexit.
In his closing remarks, Brian Daly, Chair of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Financial and Professional Services Committee, and Head of Brexit, KPMG in Ireland said: “Brexit negotiations to date have proven to be slow, difficult and fraught with uncertainty. This is never more evident than in the financial services sector where future trading arrangements are as yet unclear.
“In this context, it is vital that policymakers and industry leaders on both sides of the Irish Sea reflect on and plan for the future. Our discussions in London today highlight the key issues that Brexit negotiators will need to focus on in setting a framework for market access to EU-UK financial services and ensure Dublin and London continue to flourish as hubs for international service providers in the years to come.”
Eddie Cullen, Managing Director, Commercial Banking at Ulster Bank remarked “We understand that our customers are facing many challenges arising from the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Events like today that bring businesses and experts together will prove crucial in helping companies minimise any adverse impact of Brexit while also providing a view of what opportunities may arise. As part of RBS, Ulster Bank is especially well placed to support customers planning for Brexit and we will continue to do so as they look to 2019 and beyond.”
Speakers at the event included:
- Michael D’Arcy, TD, Minister for Financial Services and Insurance
- Gerry Cross, Director of Policy and Risk, Central Bank of Ireland
- Catherine McGuinness, Chairman, Policy and Resources, City of London Corporation.
- Eoin O’Neill, President of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce
- John Cronin, Vice-President British Irish Chamber of Commerce, Partner McCann FitzGerald
- Brian Daly, Chair British Irish Chamber of Commerce Financial and Professional Services Committee, and Head of Brexit, KPMG in Ireland
- Dominic Wade, Head of Brexit Response, Royal Bank of Scotland
- Ruth Beechey, Chief of Staff, UBS Asset Management in the UK
- Conor Lawlor, Brexit Project Director; Policy Director – Capital Markets at UK Finance
- Professor Michael Mainelli, Director, Z/Yen Group Limited
- Paul Richards, Head of Regulatory Policy, International Capital Markets Association