One positive aspect of Brexit is the mass exodus of banks and financial institutions from London to the remaining 27 Member States.
The exodus has already begun, with HSBC reportedly moving 1,000 staff to other European cities, Goldman Sachs considering cutting 3,000 jobs in London and moving them elsewhere. JP Morgan had announced it could move 4,000 of their workforce from the UK.
A report for the lobby group CityUK by consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, calculated that there could be 100,000 fewer jobs by 2020.
Indeed, every such institution, bank or financial services provider, needs the EU “passport” to access the market of half a billion Europeans which the United Kingdom will not be in the position to offer any more.
This big structural change, which so far was blocked by the UK, is an opportunity for the European Union to regulate better its stock markets and consequently its financial industry and introduce the necessary mechanisms required for the transparent and efficient operation of the sector. New Europe (in this column) wrote in June 26, 2005, “Britain is not part of the Eurogroup but it participates in all financial decisions affecting the Eurozone and permanently undermines any effort to set up a central European authority to monitor European stock markets.”
The European Markets Single Supervisory Authority, something like the US Securities & Exchange Commission is a must in Europe. If it had been established 12 years ago, when New Europe signalled the need, certainly the economic crisis which is tormenting the European Union in the last eight years, would be less acute.
Now, its establishment is inevitable for two more reasons:
The first is low costs. Once British investment banks and securities firms will become redistributed to major capitals of the Union, the fragmentation of the market that will follow if their supervision is left with the national authorities, will increase costs significantly.
Second is security. If there is a single supervisory authority, it will be easy to handle a possible bankruptcy of one of these institutions in any Member State. If this is handled by the national authorities, there is no guarantee that no other Member States will be affected.
Banks will relocate according to their business interests are likely to concentrate mostly in Germany and France while certain countries, for various reasons, will be excluded.
Not to speak of small and institutionally weak countries. Political considerations are also of paramount importance; current trends in the Netherlands and business ties to the UK also exclude it from competition.
For now, we are counting the days till the UK government’s triggering of Article 50.