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Business AS usual? H

aving spent four decades in finance, including as director general of the Association of British Insurers, a former member of the Regulatory Policy Committee, and, for the previous five years, as head of policy at the City of London Corporation, Mark Boleat has the ear of the City’s big hitters. It’s his responsibility to represent the views of the City in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels. While Mr Boleat admitted that the referendum result took him by surprise, he is upbeat about life in the postBrexit Square Mile.

It’s business as usual in the City. At least, that’s the outlook of Mark Boleat, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee. As the government prepares to trigger Article 50, The City Magazine was granted an audience with the Corporation’s political chief WORDS: David Taylor

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THE CITY MAGAZINE | March 2017

CITY: As the UK negotiates its exit from Europe, what’s the risk of the City losing power to other financial hubs? MB: The City will lose some business – but we always lose some, gain some. Britain not being in the European Union reduces the attractiveness of London as a financial centre. But by how much will depend on what we negotiate. People don’t spend time saying ‘Oh, this is terrible’. They say: ‘We’re leaving the European Union and the single market. So what do we need to do in business terms?’ CITY: How important to the City is maintaining EU passporting rights? MB: What we would like is continued access to the single market, with a say on the rules. Whether that’s achieved through passporting or another mechanism doesn’t matter. The worst case scenario is out of the single market, and strict controls on immigration. CITY: Is the uncertainty caused by Brexit harming the Fintech sector?

MB: Yes, because it’s heavily dependent on people from other countries, the European Union particularly – from where people can arrive without an income but with an idea. Berlin, generally named as the obvious alternative, is now looking more attractive. However, London benefits from being the centre of government, regulation, finance and technology. You don’t have that in Germany. The government is in Berlin, the finance is in Frankfurt, and technology is anywhere. That’s a huge advantage for London. CITY: How do we use our relationship with the US to our advantage once we’ve left the EU? MB: I’m not certain it is to our advantage. The expectation is that Trump will reduce regulation as far as he can without repealing the major legislation. They’ll also make some sensible tax changes; the American corporate tax system is irrational. That could make New York more attractive. CITY: When you say irrational… MB: They have a very high rate of corporation tax, with a whole load of exemptions such that nobody pays it. Also, if you’re an American company earning money abroad, if you don’t remit it to the US it’s not taxed. So there are trillions of dollars around the world that American companies have earned that have not been remitted. If Trump reduces the tax rate from 38 to 15 and gets rid of a lot of the exemptions, we could see money that is currently here going to America. CITY: How long will it take to leave the EU? MB: I think the negotiations will be settled

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City Magazine March 2017  

Welcome to the March edition of The City magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features, articles and r...

City Magazine March 2017  

Welcome to the March edition of The City magazine, celebrating the dynamism of the area and bringing you the latest features, articles and r...

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