Financial services post-Brexit: steady for now but questions abound

Financial services post-Brexit

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, which issues should financial services be focusing on now?

Tonio Zarb

Engagement Leader, Advisory Services

KPMG in Malta

man looking out of window

Amongst all the uncertainty and anxiety of Brexit, the good news for financial services is that there hasn’t been any market dislocation.

Collateral has been posted, payments have been settled, and it’s clear from the coordinated response by the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) that these institutions had done their contingency planning.

As the UK’s financial services sector looks to make sense of the tectonic shifts that Brexit will bring, it is helpful to think through three different timeframes.

First, in the next few weeks, senior management teams should concentrate on identifying which of their staff have the right skills, attributes and vision to work out what Brexit will mean for their business and their clients.

Then, across the next few months, senior managers should ask a series of questions:

  • “In what countries do our customers operate?”;“What products do we sell them?”;
  • “How does our funding work, and will that need to change?”;
  • "How does our infrastructure work, and will it need to change?”;
  • "How does our distribution model work?”;
  • and“Which countries do we really need to operate in?”

The answers to these questions should then form the basis of a longer-term plan that can be calibrated to account for whatever negotiated solution begins to emerge and we finally end up with. Once managers feel prepared to respond comprehensively to a new reality – whenever that becomes clear – they can start to focus on a longer timeframe, and on what the future may hold for the UK sector as a whole.

The most important issues to monitor are:

  • Passporting
  • Potential changes to the ring-fenced universal banking model for UK banks
  • The outlook for the EU-wide Capital Markets Union
  • Whether there will be a “bonfire” of financial services regulation.

On KPMG’s EU Referendum Forum, I address why firms should be paying attention to each of these issues and which are likely - and unlikely - to change in the future. 

To read the full article, visit the Financial Services section of the 'Expert Zone' in our EU Referendum Forum. Click on the info button and download the file entitled 'Post-Vote: An FS Perspective from Giles Williams'.

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