However, the minister, who failed to achieve any ground in talks with Michel Barnier, his counterpart, last week, said that it was not just the government of the United Kingdom who must make sure that London maintain its current position.
“For Europe, London is a gateway to global financial markets,” said Davis. “This isn’t just the City of London — it’s the first City of Europe, the primary financial centre for this continent. We want our exit to mark the start of a new partnership with our closest neighbours and trading allies. And together with the European Union — we must work to protect the key European asset that is the City.”
“Protecting the City — and the contribution it makes to communities and economies right across Europe — is a responsibility not just for the UK but for Europe as a whole,” Davis added.
He also reemphasised the commitment of the Prime Minister to a transition – or implementation – period, stating that it would be “about” two years. He claimed that this could be agreed “very early next year.”
Catherine McGuinness, the policy chief of the City of London Corporation, welcomed the sign that the government was listening to the concerns of the sector around Brexit.
However, McGuiness stated: “We now need to see these words turned into action. Businesses can no longer sit on their hands in the hope that they might get some certainty.
“They need to guarantee their customers that Brexit will not disrupt business – and the lack of progress so far means they are likely to implement contingency plans and move some operations out of the UK.
“The Brexit secretary is right: London is a ‘truly global’ city – a status which has been aided by the growth of the financial services sector. If we don’t start seeing more progress on a transitional arrangement, the future UK/EU trading relationship and EU immigration policies, this title may well diminish.”
The Chief Executive of TheCityUK, Miles Celic, agreed, saying: This speech makes it clear that the government is listening to the industry, understands its value and the need to secure a deal which allows us to ensure continuity of service to customers and clients. Comments about the urgency of getting a status quo transitional period, lasting at least two years, agreed as soon as possible are welcome words. What we need to see now is for them to be translated into concrete action by the UK and the EU27 as soon as possible. If this is not done so soon, more and more firms will accelerate or enact their contingency plans.”
Celis continued: “It’s positive to hear recognition of the International Regulatory Strategy’s (IRSG’s) model for a future trading relationship with the EU, in particular around mutual regulatory recognition and cooperation. Further detail on what the UK government is aiming for in this area – what its end game is – would be welcome. We now look forward to seeing its position paper on our industry and services more generally, similar to those already produced for other industries. And the EU27 needs to play its part in creating the conditions to take discussions forward and then responding constructively.”
The chief executive of AXA UK and Ireland, Amanda Blanc, requested the government to look at the insurance industry in order to provide “the foundations that a post-Brexit UK financial services sector needs to be based upon.”
She continued: “Promoting our expertise and capabilities alongside a track record in innovation and regulation that no other market can match. That is how we can avoid fragmentation of the EU trading block and provide certainty and stability to the market in the short and medium term.”