City of London lost just 7,500 jobs due to Brexit, says Irish-born mayor

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London’s financial district has lost just 7,500 financial services jobs as a result of Brexit, according to City of London Mayor Vincent Keaveny, who is of Irish descent.

At the height of Brexit negotiations, it was predicted that London’s financial hub could lose up to 80,000 jobs as businesses reconfigured operations and relocated staff outside the UK to adapt to the new Britain’s trading status.

Around 500,000 to 550,000 people are employed in the City of London.

“A number of jobs have left London. We think it’s a very small number, in the range of 7,500,’ Mr Keaveny said, while noting that there have also been Brexit-related jobs in the other direction, companies s settling in London.

“We’ve also seen tens of thousands of jobs created on the fintech side of town, which has made any job losses or job relocations to the Brexit side relatively insignificant in the whole of things,” he said. he declared.

Mr Keaveny, the first Irish citizen to be appointed Mayor of the City of London, was in Dublin this week, meeting various business groups, academics and Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney as part of a financial services dialogue event.

Procedures and Workarounds

The lower than expected job losses resulting from Brexit reflect the fact that London-based banks have put in place procedures and workarounds that allow them to continue to support major operations from London despite the loss of rights of passport, the ability to sell financial services across the EU, he said.

While the EU-UK Free Trade Agreement does not cover financial services, there is a Memorandum of Understanding on Services which, if implemented, could provide a formal framework for dialogue, which which would be in “everyone’s interest”. However, he acknowledged that the aggravations around the Northern Ireland Protocol were – in part – delaying its implementation.

Mr Keaveny, a commercial lawyer by trade, remains optimistic about the City’s prospects, dismissing any notion that it will lose its position as Europe’s financial capital as a result of Brexit.

Some four million square feet of office space was developed in London’s financial district last year, 70% more than in 2020, he said, while noting that a recent report EY suggested that 87% of its clients plan to increase their footprint in London over the next five years.

Corrupt elites

The biggest threat to financial services in London comes not from Brexit, he said, but from technology, noting that the arrival of new platforms poses a significant challenge to the traditional banking sector.

Despite accusations that London has been used as a money laundering hub by corrupt Russian elites, Mr Keaveny insisted the city was governed by strong anti-money laundering legislation.

He did, however, admit that the UK has “a problem with ownership” and buying property with dirty money or the proceeds of crime.

“One problem that the UK has, but I would say a number of other countries have, is with property. It’s very noticeable… Where you have individuals buying and owning substantial properties , whether on the French Riviera or in Mayfair, it is a very visible association,” he said.

Regarding the current crisis, Keaveny said financial services were effectively the West’s response to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

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