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Lawmakers to buttress post-Brexit Britain as a financial centre

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows The Bank of England and the City of London financial district, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, November 5, 2020. REUTERS/John Sibley/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s lawmakers launched an inquiry on Friday aimed at ensuring its financial services remain globally competitive after the country’s full departure from the European Union next month.

“We’ll make a series of recommendations for how the government, public bodies and the sector itself can ensure that the UK remains a premier financial centre,” said Mel Stride, chair of parliament’s Treasury Select Committee.

Britain left the EU last January and full access to the bloc under transition arrangements ends on Dec. 31, with 7,500 jobs and assets worth around a trillion pounds having already left the City of London for new EU financial hubs.

The inquiry will build on reforms already outlined by Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak last week that include making UK listings rules more attractive, amending insurance capital rules, and a sales tax break worth 800 million pounds on financial exports to the EU.

Lawmakers will consider what skills and immigration policy UK financial services will need as banks worry they will no longer be able to hire talent easily after Brexit promised tighter controls of immigration.

It will also look at how regulators should be funded and whether they should have objectives that include wider public policy issues like consumer interests.

The finance ministry has rejected calls from some lawmakers for regulators to have a blanket statutory objective to consider the competitiveness of Britain’s financial sector when writing new rules.

Britain’s financial services minister John Glen said on Thursday that leaving the EU meant “regulating differently, regulating better”.

“We want to become the most open and competitive financial services centre in the world,” Glen told TheCityUK’s national conference.

Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by William Maclean

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