The finance sectors of the UK and Switzerland are pressing for a “ground-breaking” trade deal to ease the flow of cash between the two European financial centres.
Trade between the countries was worth £38.4bn last year but companies including Credit Suisse, Deloitte, HSBC and UBS are calling on ministers to strike a formal agreement to help grow this trade further.
Chris Hayward, policy chair of the City of London Corporation said an enhanced trade deal with a mutual recognition agreement in financial services was a “top priority for the sector”.
Jos Dijsselhof, chief of Swiss financial infrastructure company SIX, told City AM a formal trade deal on financial services between the UK and Switzerland made “pragmatic sense”.
“Both nations are renowned global financial centres, with a shared cultural commitment to high regulatory standards, market integrity and investor protection,” he said.
Officials from both governments are to meet today (02 November) to discuss the mechanics of a deal.
A report from membership body TheCityUK and the Professional & Business Services Council (PBCS) said that both countries enjoy a strong services trading relationship and share a common regulatory outlook.
Almost half of the value of trade (£18.4bn) between the nations comes from services.
As well as securing mutual recognition in financial services and achieving a deal, a core objective should be rolling over the Services Mobility Agreement which is due to expire in January 2023, according to the report.
In late April, former prime minister Boris Johnson hosted Swiss president Ignazio Cassis for bilateral talks, with the aim of kickstarting an enhanced trade deal to replace the temporary agreement.
Big Bang 2.0
In other financial services news, current PM Rishi Sunak has pulled back from an expected post Brexit ‘big bang’ of scrapping EU regulations for the financial services sector.
Yesterday, Sunak postponed the publication of plans to allow ministers to overrule City regulators with City minister Andrew Griffith telling MPs that the PM wanted more time “to understand what is an important and detailed matter”, reports the FT.
Regulators have warned that the power would undermine their independence and weaken confidence in the City as a financial centre.