British Bankers Coping With Unfamiliar, Unwelcome Feeling Of Political Irrelevance

Financial services may be Britain’s most important industry, but you wouldn’t know it from the Brexit talks.
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By Rlevente [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Rlevente [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

So, after months and months of talking about talking about figuring out how to talk about the almost impossibly complicated divorce of the United Kingdom of Greater Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, there’s actually something approaching progress: There’s a €50 billion alimony deal, and there was briefly a deal to avoid having to put up border checks along the not-at-all-historically-problematic line between Northern Ireland and rest of Ireland, which sounds bad—and is—but is something progress-like in a process that had been full of non-progress.

There’s also another kind of progress, and that is the City of London’s progress through its stages of grief. After more than a year of denial, anger, and bargaining, Britain’s bankers have moved on to depression and even acceptance.

Bankers in London, in private conversations and public comments, say they’re now resigned to not getting any special treatment. They’re moving from contingency planning for Brexit to executing those plans….

The reason for the gloom: European officials are playing hardball, saying financial services aren’t high on their list of Brexit worries, according to people familiar with their thinking. And so far there appears to be muted political appetite in the U.K. to press the matter….

On Wednesday Andrew Bailey, one of the U.K.’s top banking regulators, said that his European counterparts “don’t put a lot of weight” in them. Michel Barnier, who is leading the negotiations for the EU, recently played down the notion that financial services would get special treatment during negotiations. “Brexit means Brexit everywhere,” he said.

Resigned to Not Getting Special Treatment, London’s Bankers Brace for Brexit [WSJ]

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