FIRST AIRED: March 24, 2017

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>> Banks in Britain are preparing for Brexit's worst, preparing to move key functions and staff from London. Last year's vote triggering a change in leadership and tone at the heart of UK government. Putting an end to the cozy relationship lenders used to enjoy with the treasury. Now bankers say they struggle to be heard.
Reuters' European Regulation Correspondent Huw Jones says banks are afraid of losing a big chunk of their market>> At the moment they have under EU law passports, they can offer the services from one EU base to the whole of the EU, so it's a cheap cost-effective way of doing business.
If that link is cut between Britain and the continent they have to find other ways of doing it and they're not sure now what to do.>> The financial services sector pays about 70 billion pounds in tax every year in the UK, the single biggest contributor to the coffers.
But for how much longer? With no minister's champion in their cause banks aren't waiting around. Many are preparing to move large number of staff from London to the continent. Some believe lenders will revert to US headquarters, making New York the big Brexit winner. London at risk of withering as a financial capital.
>> It'll be not hiring people here, but hiring them on the continent or shifting some operations to the continent. It'll be over many months, over several years probably. So it'll be a slow process. People think the city will be still the biggest financial center in Europe, but it won't be quite as big.
>> Prime Minister Theresa May says the government is engaging intensively with the financial services sector, but some politicians believe banks are exaggerating any threat. With no special treatment forthcoming, the lenders are facing a very new reality.