I am one of the few MPs who foolishly will stand up for Investment bankers. I have no problem with them earning big money as long as they live by the market and financially suffer by the market if they get it wrong. I think paying them bonuses in good times is a good idea, as long as these are removed in bad times, as that makes their businesses a bit more stable. I don’t want any public subsidy or government guarantee. I do accept that at their best they do good work in financing projects and companies, in underpinning and helping create new jobs and activities.
I do find it odd that some of the foreign owned ones whine and whinge about the UK’s possible exit from the EU. The very essence of good corporate and investment banking is managing risk and change. They are usually ace at finding their way round rules without breaking any, outwitting lumbering governments and bureaucracies, and avoiding tax legally. I don’t mind them piling in for Remain. As they are so unpopular with many UK voters I suspect their over the top dire forecasts help the leave side and provide many with another reason to dislike them.
The new scholarship level question they wish Leave to answer is how will they manage without the passport system of access to the single market when we leave. There are four simple points to make.
The first is, why should we lose the passports? As Germany wishes to avoid a WTO 10% tariff on her cars she will see the reasonableness of not altering arrangements that suit her in return for not altering arrangements that suit us. Why would the UK agree to ending the passports?
The second is even if they found a way of withdrawing the formal EU passport, under MIFID II any external country to the EU with equivalent financial regulations would be free to sell services and product in the EU. The UK will clearly qualify, as our regulations will be not merely equivalent but identical as most of them are now based on EU law.
The third is the number of successful passported products is limited. The best example, used by the government, is UCITs investment funds. Practically all of these EU funds are domiciled in either Dublin or Luxembourg. So they will remain when we leave the EU. The UK will still be able to continue our contract work for these EU domiciled funds, which will retain their passport status.
The fourth point is most of these grand Investment banks that complain have other subsidiaries around the EU in addition to their London office, so they will always have a brass plate address to qualify.
I have every confidence that these bright and motivated people will flourish out of the EU in London. Some of the same people and their predecessors told us if we stayed out of the Euro they would all have to move to Frankfurt or Paris. They didn’t and London did even better by staying out of the single currency.
They may be bright and good at what they do, but some of them do seem unable to grasp the simple realities of how the EU works and of modern politics.
(this item was requested by a reader)