Ensuring the voice of The City is heard in the Brexit negotiations

Ensuring the voice of The City is heard in the Brexit negotiations

Perhaps the biggest post-referendum shock for those involved in the Leave campaign was the immediate need to win the peace. It quickly overtook the euphoria of victory.

Nowhere was the surprise and anger of our campaign opponents more apparent than in financial services where the conventional wisdom, supported by the establishment in the form of the City Corporation and the multinational banks, was that the City was overwhelmingly in favour of Remain.

So we at The City for Britain immediately started to reach out to our opponents in the campaign and gradually built support from all sides for the creation of a fact-based research platform as a means for under-represented practitioners and other stakeholders to debate and to inform the Brexit negotiations.

Yesterday the launch of the Financial Services Negotiation Forum was announced, with a broadly based Honorary Advisory Council, including such luminaries as Baroness Sharon Bowles, former Chairwoman of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament; Mark Field, MP for the City; Dame Alison Carnwath; Jon Moulton of Better Capital; Robert Hiscox of the eponymous insurance company; and chaired by Anthony Belchambers, a leading figure in international trade policy and Chairman of the Industry Advisory Group of the Wholesale Financial Markets All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The City is hugely complex, with international markets ranging from banking and finance through insurance and commodities to shipping, built on deep and highly sophisticated ancillary services in diverse fields extending from law and accounting to its burgeoning fintech industry.

Aside from its practitioners and users, its stakeholders include every one of the 1.5 million people employed in British financial services, as well as overseas governments, trade and professional bodies, and  financial institutions who look to it for leadership and support.  Every one of these has the right to be heard and to participate in the Brexit negotiations. In addition to uniting former political opponents the Forum’s single purpose and Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is to represent them and provide the opportunity to identify and discuss the key issues.

The Forum will publish research of the highest quality on the topics which really matter to its supporters, and use it as a basis for open forums, educational seminars and online discussion. It will thus form a highly credible, well informed corpus of information and concerns with which it will engage at the highest level with those involved in the Brexit negotiations.

It is a membership organisation, with support from both individuals and corporates, and its approach will highly be proactive, listening to and continuously monitoring, identifying and analysing the questions of those whose voices may not otherwise be effectively heard.

There will of course be other important campaigns and commentators involved in this process and the Forum intends to work in complement with and not in competition to them. Its single goal will be to achieve the best possible outcome for Britain in its negotiations to leave the European Union.