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City minister to meet European bank chiefs as Square Mile Brexodus looms

The Remain-backing Conservative MP will meet finance chiefs from major EU lenders .

New City Minister John Glen is to discuss Brexit with bank chiefs on Friday  in what will be his first round of talks with Square Mile firms since being appointed to the role last week.

The Remain-backing Conservative MP will meet a group of finance chiefs from major EU lenders after being invited to talk about the challenges and opportunities arising from Britain’s divorce from the bloc.

It will mark Mr Glen’s first set of banking meetings since being handed the role as part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s reshuffle, and comes at a critical time for the sector.

Without a Brexit transition deal in place, London-based banks are weeks away from triggering contingency plans that could see thousands of jobs leave the UK.

Once Britain leaves the EU, banks based in the country will lose passporting rights, which allow them to do business across the single market.

EU lender Deutsche Bank is preparing to settle more of its transactions out of Frankfurt, and is likely to move hundreds of staff from London.

UBS has also signalled that it could move up to 1,000 of its near 5,000-strong UK staff involved in operations dependent on passporting to the EU, while Swiss peer Credit Suisse is one of the last major banks yet to announce its post-Brexit plans.

The minister missed a round-table meeting with the likes of Barclays, Lloyds of London and Goldman Sachs hosted by Mrs May and Chancellor Philip Hammond last week.

While Mr Glen’s portfolio explicitly covers Brexit’s impact on financial services, he had already scheduled in a parliamentary debate on the role of banks in communities, which covered a recent spate of branch closures.

Mr Glen is the fourth politician to be handed the financial services and Brexit brief since July 2016, and will have big shoes to fill after taking over from Stephen Barclay.

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Mr Barclay – who is now a minister in the Department for Health and Social Care – was well regarded in the City during his six months in the role.

He had experience of financial regulation and crime prevention as a director of regulatory affairs and later as the head of anti-money laundering and sanctions at Barclays retail bank.

He was also qualified as a solicitor and was a member of the Public Accounts Committee from 2010 to 2014, according to his website.

But Mr Glen is no a stranger to the corporate world, having graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree from Cambridge University in 2003 and working for consultancy Accenture, which included managing the company’s relationship with the World Economic Forum.

However, City sources have told the Press Association that the numerous handovers of the Brexit and financial services brief has been frustrating for an industry that has been “crying out for clarity on policy” on Britain’s EU divorce.

The Brexit portfolio was previous held by former commercial secretary Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe over the first six months of 2017, with those duties having been transferred from then-City minister Simon Kirby amid reports that senior Square Mile executives were unhappy with his banking credentials.

But firms are understood to appreciate the relationship developed with the Chancellor in recent months, with Mr Hammond having taken a lead role in Treasury meetings with foreign banks since 2017.

Hopes for a bespoke deal for financial services were shot down by French President Emmanuel Macron, who told Mrs May on Thursday that the UK would have to abide by European legal jurisdiction and contribute to the Brussels budget if the City of London is to be covered by a deal after Brexit.

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