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Post-Brexit Freedom of movement of increasing concern for asset managers – EY

Freedom of movement for staff is of increasing importance to asset managers in a post-Brexit world, EY has said.


While the initial focus for financial services firms following the vote by the UK to leave the European Union has been on an ability to continue to passport their products across the EU, there has been an increase in asset managers’ focus on the issue of freedom of movement.

Based on the firm’s Brexit Tracker that monitors not only the impact of Brexit on 202 banks, asset managers, insurers and fintech companies globally as well as their responses to the changes wrought by the decision, EY said that so far 22% of all firms had publicly announced what they would like from the negotiations.

Of these, 68% highlighted the importance of the need to be able to continue to passport their products across the European Union.

Of the 16 major asset managers that have so far underlined specific policy priorities, EY said, 75% referenced passporting. But, it added: “a quarter (25%) have also highlighted free movement of people as a key concern. It is notable that three of the four large asset managers that have highlighted free movement as important have done so since August, suggesting that this issue has moved further the sector’s agenda in recent weeks,” the consultancy said.

Omar Ali, UK Financial Services Leader at EY said that while passporting remains critical for asset managers, suggesting that it is the sector’s only concern would be an oversimplification.

“We know there is a growing concern among asset managers about being able to access the most talented individuals from across Europe. The UK Government has signalled its desire to accommodate the movement of highly skilled workers in the financial services industry from the EU to the UK – the sector will be seeking further clarity of what this will mean in practice.”