Luxembourg ‘Natural Pick’ for Banks After Brexit, Gramegna Says

  • Uncertainty caused by U.K. vote isn’t good for investors
  • Luxembourg finance minister speaks in Bloomberg TV interview

Luxembourg isn’t planning to grab business away from London as the U.K. prepares to leave the European Union, but the nation is a “very natural pick” for those in the finance sector who are looking for a base in Europe, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said.

“When I went to London in July, I said to the players of the London financial center: we’re not coming here to take business away from London, we are coming here to continue to do business with you,” Gramegna said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Thursday. “We are a very natural pick for those actors that need to find a place in the euro zone or on the continent, but I think this can be done in good harmony with the people in London.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond earlier dismissed mounting speculation that the British government is turning anti-business, after Prime Minister Theresa May used her Conservative Party’s annual conference this week to attack “international elites” and pledged to make capitalism fairer for workers. Speaking to Bloomberg TV during his first trip to New York’s Wall Street as finance minister, Hammond said May’s government isn’t pursuing a so-called hard Brexit and recognizes the value of the country’s finance industry.

‘Wide Open’

Luxembourg has already seen a lot of interest “because the question about access to markets is wide open and I think we are still in the very beginning of the whole negotiation and so there’s a lot of uncertainty and investors don’t like uncertainty,” Gramegna said.

What has to happen next, following May’s announcement that the she will begin the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU before the end of March next year, is that both sides prepare their positions, said Gramegna.

“Negotiations really start once Article 50 has been triggered,” he said in the interview, referring to the article in the Lisbon Treaty that will activate two years of formal discussions on an exit.

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