Financial Services

Treasury written question – answered on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Chuka Umunna Chuka Umunna Liberal Democrat, Streatham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the Guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there's no deal, published by the Department for Exiting the European Union, what parts of the plan for banking, insurance and other financial services in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal have been implemented.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Government has done the necessary work to make sure that we continue to have a stable and functioning financial services regime at the point of leaving the EU in a no deal scenario.

The Government has delivered a programme of legislation under the EU Withdrawal Act in order to provide continuity for UK citizens and businesses and to ensure the UK regulatory regime can function effectively outside of the EU.

This legislation includes temporary permissions for EEA firms currently passporting into the EU, and temporary permissions to allow UK firms to continue using Central Counterparties (CCPs) and Central Securities Depositories (CSDs) in the EEA. It also includes a transitional power for regulators to phase in post-exit regulatory requirements for firms where they have changed as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

Following the six-month Article 50 extension, new EU financial services legislation will become applicable between now and 31 October 2019 and will therefore form part of UK law on exit day. We are laying further Statutory Instruments under the EU Withdrawal Act to ensure this new legislation is workable in the UK at exit.

However, it should be noted that the UK authorities are not able through unilateral action to fully address all the risks. For example, the risks to EEA customers of UK firms currently providing services into the EEA using the financial services passport also require action from the EU or individual member states.

We therefore welcome the steps taken by the EU and some individual member states to mitigate some of the risks. This includes: the EU’s temporary equivalence and recognition for UK CCPs and CSDs; ESMA’s decision to approve Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that include provisions to allow cross-border delegation of portfolio management between the UK and the EEA; and EIOPA recommendations which call on relevant member state regulators to put in place measures which aim to minimise detriment to insurance policyholders.

As a result of all these actions, the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee said in its Financial Stability Report (July 2019): ‘Most risks to UK financial stability from disruption to cross-border financial services in a no-deal Brexit have been mitigated.’ But they also note that ‘in the absence of further action by EU authorities, some disruption to cross-border financial services is possible.’

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