City of London Forms Panic Committee
July 3, 2016 (EIRNS)—Banks and other financial insititutions in London have rallied together,
"forming a group to devise a strategy for protecting the turf of an industry that is Britain’s biggest exporter and accounts for more than 10% of its tax revenues,"
as Reuters put it. "Panic Committee" would be more accurate. The group is headed by Shriti Vadera, chairwoman of the U.K. arm of Spain’s Banco Santander (of the Inter Alpha Group fame) who was a former business minister.
"We are looking to them to have an intelligent response," Barclays chairman John McFarlane told an industry event on Thursday. "We neither know the shape or direction of things to come. It’s far from certain what we might be able to secure from discussions with the EU."
"With the British government in disarray, European politicians are threatening to clip the wings of the London financial center that is home to more than 250 foreign banks and more than three-quarters of the EU’s capital markets activity. French President Frannçois Hollande has backed calls for London, the world’s biggest currency trading center, to lose its right to clear deals denominated in euros. Likewise, the right of banks based in Britain to operate across the EU under the bloc’s financial "passporting’ arrangement could also go if it loses access to the single European market."
HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint, whose bank decided against leaving London earlier this year, was quite upset by the effort to challenge the City’s control of policy: "Politicians can’t dictate where things are done," he told the annual conference of a group called TheCityUK, on June 30.