Robert Rooney, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley International, told a conference in London on October 11: “Although there’s a lot of noise and emotion around this topic [Brexit], it really isn’t terribly complicated.
“If we are outside the EU and we do not have what would be a stable and long-term assured commitment that we would have access to the single market then we will have to do a lot of things that we do today from London somewhere inside the EU 27 [members].”
His comments come as talk of a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ from the EU intensifies.
Rooney was part of a panel discussing the priorities in sustaining UK financial services post Brexit that also included Baroness Shriti Vadera, who is leading the City’s lobbying efforts in Brexit negotiations.
Vadera chairs the European Financial Services Chairmen’s Advisory Committee, which she wants to make a “a quiet, sensible sounding board for government” in the months ahead. Rooney is also involved with the lobby group, managing the brief for investment banking along with BNY Mellon’s European chairman Michael Cole-Fontayn.
The issue of the single market’s passporting rights, which allow companies based in EU member states to do business across the region, is among the chief concerns for financial services companies currently based in the UK.
Many fear that losing these will leave them no choice but to shift certain operations out of the country in order to allow them continued access to the bloc. The likes of JP Morgan and exchange group Bats Europe are among the biggest names to have suggested jobs could move.
Both Vadera and Rooney were this week named among the Brexit Influencers in FN’s annual ranking of the 100 most influential people in European finance.
Rooney said that if single market access was lost “the jobs that go may be somewhat significant but not dramatic” and added that the bank would be operating under “a much less efficient” business model.
His comment were echoed by John Nelson, the chairman of Lloyd’s of London, who said his company would be left with “no choice” but to set up in the EU if satisfactory market access was not granted.
He said: “It is a shame – Lloyd’s has been going slightly longer even than Morgan Stanley, 328 years, and we want to try and keep it going.”