May defends stance on post-Brexit financial services rules

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May defended her decision to rule out so-called ‘passporting’ rights for banks after Brexit, saying Britain could not become a “rule taker” when it came to financial services.
May said her vision for future ties to the EU was a credible one and she was confident of reaching a good Brexit deal, in an interview broadcast on Sunday but recorded on Friday after a speech in which she had appealed for more flexibility from the bloc.
Setting out her thinking in more detail, May said the financial services sector was too important to the British economy for Brussels to retain control of it under the existing ‘passporting’ arrangement.
Passporting rules allow EU finance companies to sell their services across the 28-member bloc with a local license, rather than getting a licence to operate in each member country where it does business.
“If we were to accept ‘passporting’ we’d just be a rule taker, we’d have to abide by the rules that were being set elsewhere,” May said in the interview with the BBC.
“Given the importance of financial stability, of ensuring the City of London, we can’t just take the same rules without any say in them,” May said.
The Confederation of British Industry lobby group said it was important to make sure alternative arrangements were put in place to prevent firms leaving London.
“Now we do have an opening negotiating position. It needs to be followed through, it needs to be followed through very quickly because financial services firms are moving now,” CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn told BBC radio.
May wants financial services to be included in a free trade deal — something she believes it is still possible to achieve despite accusations from Brussels that her approach amounts to ‘cherry picking’ the best bits of the EU.
— Reuters