Kay Swinburne tells traders: UK needs tailored EU ties

Kay Swinburne delivers the keynote address at the 2016 FN trading and technology awards

Delivering a keynote speech at the Financial News Awards for Excellence in Trading and Technology, Europe, in London on October 12, the Welsh politician said there is “no existing model” for how the the UK and the EU will set their future ties.

She said: “Much as Norway, Switzerland and Canada are being discussed as models, the reality is that they each have a tailor-made system that they have negotiated over time. That is what we need to be doing now.”

Pointing out the weakness of the pound since the results of the EU referendum were announced, Swinburne said politicians weren’t “best placed to devise and implement a strategy for a new European relationship”.

She called on the UK to turn to the “leading lights” of trading and technology to help find solutions amid the process of exiting the EU.

She said: “If anyone is going to make a success of Brexit, it’s going to be an innovative industry used to dealing with the unexpected.”

“Don’t get bogged down by what isn’t possible – start finding the solutions,” she told the audience.

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One possibility raised by Swinburne was for the Financial Conduct Authority to maintain strong ties with European regulators. She floated the idea of the UK regulator keeping its Esma seat, paid for by industry contributions.

Swinburne also said there could be the potential for the UK to make changes to existing EU directives and regulations to suit its own markets, giving it the much-desired equivalence with the EU while smoothing out “some of the edges that we currently dislike”.

“Or we could turn the whole system on its head,” she added.

One of the hot topics for the trading industry since the Brexit vote has been where euro-denominated securities should be cleared. The issue has raised tensions, with several of the UK’s European neighbours looking to take the clearing role to the continent.

Technological advances could have big implications for that debate, said Swinburne.

She said: “In five years’ time we may not be talking about any ‘location’ for euro clearing. Seemingly a lot of the location issues melt away when we are discussing real-time clearing, or real-time settlement using distributed ledger technologies.”

French President François Hollande has led the calls for London to relinquish its status as the hub for clearing euro-denominated derivatives. But UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has hit back, defending the City’s dominant role in clearing the trades.

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