FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Britain may bend the rules to defend London’s standing as a global investment hub after leaving the European Union, the head of the company that runs the Frankfurt Stock Exchange warned on Thursday, raising the stakes in a duel for post-Brexit financial supremacy.
“For London, for Great Britain, this is about survival. You shouldn’t believe that there is always fair play over there,” Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) boss Theodor Weimer told a financial conference.
Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital that is also home to the European Central Bank, is seeking to pick up business and lure bankers from London ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union in early 2019.
Deutsche Boerse is, in particular, seeking to win a piece of the lucrative market for clearing financial contracts denominated in euros that is now dominated by LCH Clearnet, a unit of the London Stock Exchange (LSE.L).
Weimer also said: “The British will do everything to preserve London’s standing as a financial centre - by fair or perhaps even foul means: tax cuts, incentives and the like.”
The tough talk follows the Brexit-induced collapse of a merger between Deutsche Boerse and the LSE that was followed by the exit of the German company’s CEO, Carsten Kengeter, amid an insider trading scandal.
Weimer, appointed to replace Kengeter, said after starting the job earlier this year that he wants to win a quarter of euro clearing from London as Britain leaves the EU.
Reporting by Andreas Framke; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Alexandra Hudson