Without London Europe Would Have No Finance Center, Osborne Says

  • Calls for maximum EU access for financial services post-Brexit
  • Former chancellor says Fintech would move to California

Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned that if London loses its status as a financial center following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the continent would be unable to replace it.

The choice is not whether the financial center moves to some other European capital, but whether it moves out of Europe entirely, Osborne said in a speech in London on Monday. "I don’t think that’s in the interests of any European country," he said. The Financial Technology sector would shift to California if London were unable to support it, he added.

The comments came weeks after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, resulting in a government shake-up which saw Osborne relegated to being a rank-and-file lawmaker and David Cameron, his closest political ally, losing his post as prime minister.

"As we begin to negotiate our exit from the EU I would want to see the maximum possible access for our financial services and vice-versa with European companies," Osborne said. "We should be seeking the closest possible economic ties with our near neighbors."

Osborne called for a ’prudential system’ to avoid asset bubbles in the economy and powers for government and the Bank of England to intervene if they do.

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