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EU Exit Would Hurt London’s Place as Financial Hub, Report Says

A U.K. exit from the European Union could hurt London’s position as a financial center and weaken the country’s attempts to influence legislation, according to a report whose contributors include two former Bank of England officials.

A decision by the U.K. to leave the EU would “put at risk both London’s position and the strength of one of the country’s most successful sectors,” John Gieve, former deputy governor for financial stability and David Green, who spent 30 years as a senior supervisor at the central bank and then headed international policy at the Financial Services Authority, wrote in a report published by Regent’s University, London.

Prime Minister David Cameron said in January he wants a referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017, following a renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the bloc. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg this month called on business leaders who oppose leaving the EU to make their position plain.

A “Britain outside the EU would certainly count for less and less on its own account,” Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International, said in the report. In its trade with “the remaining EU, the U.K. would obviously be expected to observe the rules of the Single European Market, as it does currently -- these rules developing over time with little or no British influence on their evolution.”

Almost 80 percent of U.K. business leaders say Britain should remain a member of the EU, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry found last month. Only 10 percent said it was in Britain’s interests to leave the bloc, according to the U.K.’s biggest business lobby group.

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