Big Bang II: After Brexit, what’s next for the City of London?

Collectively known as “Big Bang”, the measures were passed on October 27 1986, paving the way for the City to compete on the international stage. It has done so effectively ever since, albeit with more restraint since the financial crash of 2008. Today the City is hovering on the brink of Big Bang II. As the repercussions of the vote for Brexit unfold, much remains at stake. Banking and finance contributes more to the UK economy than any other sector. Around 35 per cent of EU wholesale financial services activity takes place in London as well as 59 per cent of international insurance premiums, helping to generate a trade surplus of £72bn for the UK in 2014. While mounting popular resentment over immigration levels fuelled Britain’s decision to leave the EU, nearly 11 per cent of the City’s 360,000 workers come from elsewhere in the union. EU membership brought the financial sector two key benefits — access to these skilled migrant workers and a free passport to sell products and services across the region’s “single market”. Both are now threatened.

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