June 30, 2020 / 4:51 PM / 4 days ago

Switzerland and UK to cooperate more closely on financial services

ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) - Switzerland and Britain have signed a joint statement pledging to deepen their cooperation in the area of financial services like cross-border trading in shares, their finance ministers said on Tuesday.

In a virtual meeting, the ministers agreed they wanted to reach an agreement that would enable cross-border market access for wholesale financial services relating to insurance, banking, asset management and capital market infrastructure, the ministry said.

Leading Swiss financial institutions such as Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) and UBS (UBSG.S) have extensive operations in London, with nearly half of all Swiss financial services imports coming from Britain.

UK finance minister Rishi Sunak said the agreement showed it was possible to achieve cross-border trade in financial services, while recognising and respecting that different jurisdictions can achieve the same outcomes in different ways.

The remark was a nod to Britain’s attempts to obtain similar access to the EU financial market from next January, which have made less progress, with Brussels on Tuesday calling London’s proposals “unacceptable”.

Technical work with Switzerland will begin immediately, with “financial dialogue” starting on Sept. 8, and a stock-take at the end of 2020, Sunak said.

Britain has also completed an assessment of rules used by the Swiss Exchange and found them to be “equivalent”, or as robust as those for UK exchanges, Sunak said.

Britain has left the European Union, and a transition period when all EU rules still apply ends in December, allowing the UK to strike trade deals with Switzerland and other countries.

“As soon as our equivalence powers come into force, we’ll lay the necessary legislation so we can start trading on each other’s stock exchanges once again,” Sunak said.

This will allow investors in Britain to buy and sell shares on the Swiss Exchange, and Swiss investors to do likewise on the London Stock Exchange and other platforms in London.

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich and Huw Jones in London; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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