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Forget EU post-Brexit and focus on U.S. and Asia, says Barclays boss

· 02/05/2021 05:07
Forget EU post-Brexit and focus on U.S. and Asia, says Barclays boss

- Britain's vast financial services industry should focus post-Brexit on maintaining its leading position in international finance by winning business in the United States and Asia rather than in the European Union, Barclays CEO Jes Staley said.

While it is still the only global centre to rival New York, London has seen some business and job losses since the shock 2016 Brexit vote and financial services were largely forgotten by British leaders during EU divorce negotiations, cutting the City off from its biggest single customer.

Barclays BARC.L CEO Staley was quoted by the BBC as saying that "Brexit is more than likely on the positive side than on the negative side."

"I think what London needs to be focused on is not Frankfurt or Paris, [it] needs to be focused on New York and Singapore," Staley, a former banker at JPMorgan, told the BBC.

New York retained the top spot in a survey of global financial centres published in September by Global Financial Centres Index, with London strengthening its position in second.

While trading in euro shares and some derivatives has left for other European centres - with some to New York - after Brexit, no one European competitor has dominated and so London views New York, Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore as its true rivals.

"What the UK needs and London needs, is to make sure that the City is one of the best places, whether [it is in terms of] regulation or law or language, or talent," the Barclays boss said.

He cautioned, however, against a bonfire of regulation.

"I wouldn't burn one piece of regulation."

Barclays employs some 50,000 people in the United Kingdom, roughly 20,000 outside of the UK and 10,000 in the US, he said.

"Some amount of capital has moved but London is still obviously the main centre for Barclays."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton)

((guy.faulconbridge@thomsonreuters.com; 07825218698;))