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UK sets up Brexit taskforce for asset management

More than 15 months after the Brexit vote, the UK government has finally decided to set up a taskforce to manage the impact of Brexit on the £8trn (€9trn) UK asset management business.

Brexit Strategies


Louise Hill

Comprised of company CEOs, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and investor groups, the Asset Management Taskforce will discuss how the industry can remain competitive and deliver for investors even after the UK splits from the EU.

There was a “clear need” for the forum following the referendum vote last year according to UK City minister Stephen Barclay, who was a lawyer for Axa Insurance and an FCA regulator before entering politics.

In a speech at the FT Investment Management Summit on Friday, Barclay said the government was “keen to keep the UK as the premier global location for asset management”.

“The UK’s economies of scale, the strong network of ancillary services, and our high-standard regulation, asset management has flourished here.

“So, what we’re going to do as we manage our exit from the EU, is not let that go. Quite the opposite – I am determined to use the challenge posed by Brexit as a spur to capitalise on the underlying global reach of the sector,” he said.

Government, industry and regulators in spotlight

The taskforce will aim to deliver ideas on how government, industry and regulators can ensure asset managers respond effectively to Brexit and how the industry can improve what it offers domestic savers.

In light of the current Patient Capital Review, the taskforce will also look at how the industry can contribute to the UK economy through “investment and stewardship”.

Barclay insisted the government was working hard to get clarity on what a post-Brexit UK might look like and pledged to support the global delegation model for portfolio management.

Any restriction would only lead to funds fleeing Europe for financial centres in New York or Hong Kong, he said.

“All in all, the asset management sector makes an enormous contribution to our economy as a whole – supporting British success in ways many people outside of the sector under appreciate,” he said.

“I want to be clear that the government understands the strategic importance of the UK asset management sector and, alongside insurance, it is an industry with truly global reach.”