Sir Mark Boleat holds a portfolio of public sector, commercial and voluntary positions.
He is Chairman of Link, which runs the country’s network of cash dispensers, Chairman of the Housing and Finance Institute, Chairman of the Governors of the City of London Academy Highbury Grove, a member of boards of the Centre for London and Homes for Londoners, and a member of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee, having been Chairman from May 2012 to May 2017. As Chairman Mark was also Deputy Chairman of TheCityUK and the International Regulatory Strategy Group and a Vice Chair of London Councils.
Mark was knighted in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to the financial services industry and local government in London.
Brexit, political risk and the future of the City of London
Over the past 30 years the UK has gone from being “the sick man of Europe” to a highly successful economy, and London has been transformed from a large national capital into the world’s major international financial centre. This transformation was not the result of a conscious plan, but rather resulted from a combination of factors. Some of these were London’s long-standing advantages including: the English language; the rule of law; a strong university network; and generally a welcoming environment for outsiders. But there were some helpful policy decisions, in particular in respect of tax and regulation and also some “own goals” by other jurisdictions, notably in France and the US. Key factors underpinning this success were political stability and a predictable business environment.
Brexit threatens these two factors. The merits of Brexit and the ongoing debate about what sort of Brexit provide great scope for debate, but what is beyond dispute is that Brexit has already led to an unpredictable business environment and to a less stable political climate. It is inevitable that this is leading to lower business investment and to Britain becoming less attractive to talent from the rest of the world.
The financial services industry will adapt and will be fine after Brexit. But a smaller proportion of it will be in the City and the UK. How much smaller depends on how quickly the business environment becomes predictable and how open a post-Brexit Britain will be to the rest of the world.