City of London is no 'Singapore on Thames,' policy chairman says


LONDON/SINGAPORE, May 29 (dpa): The person in charge of policy issues for the City of London financial district dismissed fears about a lack of supervision for the British financial sector.

"This is not the right way to go," Chris Hayward, policy chairman for the City of London Corporation, told dpa.

Headlines suggesting that London's "Square Mile, " as the City of London's financial district is also called, could become a "Singapore on Thames" with lax rules for financial services providers because of Brexit hold no truth, Hayward said.

Hayward is due to leave for talks in Berlin and Frankfurt on Monday to promote a rapprochement after Brexit. He is to meet representatives of the German government and the Bundesbank there.

It was not in the interest of the City of London to fall into "a downward spiral" in the regulation of the financial markets, he said. The City is lobbying both major parties in Britain for regulation that promotes growth.

Hayward said that he was convinced that this message would be received no matter who governs the country after the general election expected in 2024.

His trip to Germany is all about rebuilding trust after the squabbles of the Brexit years, he said. Unfortunately, the services sector was not taken into account in the Brexit trade agreement, yet it accounts for a large part of British economic output.

The Square Mile alone is responsible for 13% of British tax revenues. This makes it all the more important to push ahead with a Memorandum of Understanding with Brussels, which had been on hold for years because of the dispute over Brexit rules for Northern Ireland, Hayward said.

The City has not suffered as much as feared as a result of Brexit. Instead of tens of thousands of jobs in the entire British financial services sector, only about 7,000 jobs were lost to other locations such as Dublin, Paris or Frankfurt, according to Hayward. But the past few years have been "very, very, very tough," he admitted.

Nearly 590,000 people work in the City of London.

The City of London, which roughly covers the area of the historic centre, is the core of the British financial industry and has a centuries-old special status.

It is administered by the City of London Corporation, which is headed by an annually elected representative known as the lord mayor. In addition to serving the interests of the financial industry, the corporation also performs local government functions in its borough. - dpa

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