Brexit would hit financial services sector hardest - City of London Corporation
Britain's financial services sector will be the worst hit if Britain votes to leave the European Union, the City of London Corporation has warned.
Speaking at a Brexit legal debate, the Corporation's chairman Mark Boleat said that there would be "serious consequences" for the Square Mile's role as an international financial centre, including job losses at major banks.
He said: "We would see UK-based financial institutions lose access to the single market and some would consider relocating elsewhere in the EU - not overnight but over time. Lloyds of London, HSBC, JP Morgan, Barclays and Citigroup are among the institutions to have spoken up on the issue, warning about jobs losses or relocating some of their business overseas."
The warning comes after eight former US treasury secretaries said that it would be a "risky bet" for Britain to leave the EU. Speaking ahead of president Barack Obama's visit to the UK, they said that it would be difficult for the UK to negotiate trade deals outside the EU.
Boleat added: "As a recent Capital Economics study has shown, without passporting rights, exports of financial services to the EU could fall by half or about £10bn. Quite simply we have more to lose immediately post Brexit than other sectors of the economy.
"Financial and related professional services would need to take their place among all the other sectors to be negotiated. And to top this all off, the UK currently has no staff with trade negotiation experience to get the best result for the UK in these negotiations."
However, a spokesperson for Vote Leave rubbished the speech.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Vote Leave, said: "Mark Boleat said we would be disadvantaged if we didn't join the euro. Now he's making the same flimsy predictions about the referendum. He was wrong then and he is wrong now.
"London is the financial capital of the world because of its global talent pool, its tax and legal system and the dynamic nature of our economy, not because of our EU membership. After we Vote Leave all those characteristics will be enhanced as we take back control."
It is understood that financial heavyweights will gather at The Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge this evening for a fundraising dinner organised by the remain campaign.
Some of the most high-profile City figures calling for Britain to remain in the EU include former M&S boss Lord Stuart Rose, Sir Martin Sorrell and PR guru Roland Rudd.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are among the financial institutions that have donated to the Britain Stronger In Europe group.