News - 25.02.2021

Replay: Focus On life after Brexit

  • The Financial Centre

Brexit has now become a reality, but the agreement that was signed at the end of last year contains almost no references to financial services. Regardless, financial services has moved on and is settling into the new reality.

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The complementarity between Luxembourg and UK financial services that has worked well in the past is critical to the future, according to Pierre Gramegna, Luxembourg’s Minister of Finance, who delivered the opening remarks. He stressed the importance of not using Brexit as a way to set up a “fortress Europe”, but rather that it should be a call to ensure Europe prospers and remains attractive for international players.

Miles Celic, CEO of the CityUK, provided the view from London, addressing the audience on “What is the UK doing in financial services.” He noted that while financial services were largely prepared for Brexit, the day-to-day ways of doing business have changed and will likely continue to change. In this respect, the priority must be to use the TCA as a foundation on which to build a successful agreement for financial services. He further stressed the importance of the upcoming MoU which will provide the necessary structure for establishing a future framework.

Following Miles, Isabelle Jaspart, Head of Division of the Legal Department, and Anne-George Kuzuhara, Deputy Head of the Banking Supervisory and SSM Coordination Department, from the CSSF, discussed “the new regulatory landscape and how it may evolve.” A highlight of the discussion was that while financial services waits on the European Commission to decide which equivalences to grant, national regulators are entitled to take their own decision. Hence, the CSSF has set up a clear, accessible and preeminent third-country regime which is critical for ensuring business continuity and is especially important for asset managers in Luxembourg who wish to continue delegating certain functions to the UK. Further, both interviewees highlighted the strong relationship that exists between the CSSF and UK competent authorities and that, going forward, all parties were committed to maintaining the relationship and dialogue.

Our panel discussion brought together three experts uniquely qualified to discuss “the new modus operandi in cross border finance.” Gregor Bollen, Managing Director at Citi Private Bank, Noel Fessey, CEO of EFA – European Fund Administrators, and Patrick Geortay, Managing Partner at Linklaters. The three had a lively discussion on the implications of Brexit to their operations and the how the overall regulatory change has played out so far. Notably, the three indicated that while equivalences are important, they are not the be-all and end-all, and businesses can’t make their long term European strategy based on equivalences, which can be revoked at short notice. All three agreed that a key factor of the ongoing changes was ensuring that client disruption was minimalized, hence many had already moved operations in advance to ensure this was the case.

Finally, we closed the event with a fireside chat between Nicolas Mackel and Steve Jacoby, Managing Partner of Clifford Chance, who discussed the increasing use of Luxembourg law in international finance.

To watch the full replay and hear what our guests had to say in detail click the link below: