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Britain to bolster competitiveness in finance after Brexit

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view is seen of the London skyline from Canary Wharf in London, Britain, October 19, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it will require its regulators to help the City of London remain a globally competitive financial centre after being largely cut off from the European Union due to Brexit.

The government outlined planned legislation marking the biggest changes to UK capital markets in years to exploit what it sees as “Brexit freedoms” to set financial rules which had hitherto been written in Brussels for decades.

Financial services minister John Glen has already said that the new growth and international competitiveness objective for the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority would be secondary to their top aim of keeping markets, consumers and companies safe and sound.

Restrictions on 3,200 investment firms will be eased to attract more stock and bond trading in London, while ensuring that high standards are maintained, the government said.

The draft law will also harness “opportunities of innovative technologies in financial services, including supporting the safe adoption of cryptocurrencies and resilient outsourcing to technology providers.”

A core aim is to make regulation nimbler by moving chunks of detailed rulemaking from lawmakers to the regulators, who would be under close scrutiny of parliament.

It avoids time-consuming legislation each time the rulebook needed updating to reflect changes in markets.

The bill will also safeguard cash as a means of payment after being overtaken by ‘contactless’ cards and other forms of electronic payments.

Around 5.4 million adults rely on cash to a very great or great extent in their daily lives, and lawmakers are concerned with the rate of bank branch and cash machine closures, particularly in rural and less well-off parts of the country.

Britain to bolster competitiveness in finance after Brexit

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