The Prime Minister met with US banking executives in New York to ask their opinion on how Brexit should be structured, according to the Financial Times.
The FT reports that Theresa May was due to meet “mostly” finance CEO during a visit to the US on Monday, as well as some figures from the tech and entertainment industry.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, IBM, and Amazon were said to all be represented. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was also due to sit in.
A spokesperson for the PM told the FT that the meetings would “give them the chance to talk about their concerns” about Brexit.
Finance firms, particularly US ones, have been lobbying hard for the UK to retain access to the single market after Britain leave the European Union. Passporting rights are vital for firms to continue trading across Europe from their British bases. Banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan also bankrolled the remain side in a bid to avoid Brexit altogether.
Former Chancellor George Osborne met with top finance leaders shortly after the June 23 referendum on European Union membership and talked them into signing a joint statement agreeing to help London retain its financial crown in Europe.
However, Theresa May’s new cabinet has brought with it a change in attitude and a significant fraction of Ministers, including Boris Johnson, are pushing for a so-called “hard Brexit”, which would likely involve Britain losing access to the single market and having to negotiate new trade deals.
Johnson earlier this month backed “Change Britain”, a new lobby group of MPs putting pressure on the Prime Minister to withdraw quickly and sharply from the European Union.
May will want to do her best to allay fears that Britain is heading towards a “hard Brexit,” which could force banks to move thousands of jobs overseas.
The European Union is signalling it won’t cut a special deal with the City of London if the UK leaves the European single market and banks such as JPMorgan and UBS have already warned of potential post-Brexit job losses. Deutsche Bank has also prepared a secret briefing paper looking at where banks may want to relocated to, obtained by Business Insider.
Philip Hammond, George Osborne’s replacement as Chancellor, has already signalled he will be as accommodating of finance as he predecessor was, suggesting “high-skilled” finance workers will be exempt from post-Brexit immigration curbs.
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