UK/EU market access post ‘Brexit’

Held on Tuesday, November 14, 2017


  • Rachel Kent (Hogan Lovells)

  • Barnabas Reynolds (Shearman & Sterling)

  • Alan Houmann (Citi)



Among the various alternatives that have been put forward for a UK-EU financial services deal post-Brexit, two stand out:

  • In September, the International Regulatory Strategy Group – a high-level practitioner body, sponsored by TheCityUK and the Corporation – published its third report, making specific proposals on the terms of an agreement under which firms in the UK and the EU27 would have reciprocal market access post-Brexit (here). It is a pretty comprehensive document that could provide the basis for a mutually advantageous deal – if there was goodwill on both sides. Perhaps its key recommendation is creation of a new Forum for Regulatory Alignment.

Much of the work on the IRSG report was carried out by Hogan Lovells, and specifically by Rachel Kent who heads the firm’s global financial institutions practice. We are delighted that she has agreed to walk us through the report, and its conclusions.

  • A couple of months before the IRSG report, Barnabas Reynolds published his second book on Brexit: “A Template for Enhanced Equivalence” (here). This includes a proposal for mutual EU-UK financial services access post-Brexit, based on extensive consultation with the industry. In particular, it explains how the existing EU framework for equivalence could be revised before Brexit (under QMV) so that UK and EU firms would be guaranteed “evergreen” access to the other’s market. It includes a worked-out draft EU regulation, UK implementing legislation and a bilateral UK-EU agreement. We are delighted that Barney – who heads Shearman & Sterling’s global financial institutions advisory and financial regulatory group – has agreed to explain his proposals.

While these proposals are a step forward, and will undoubtedly have a big impact on the UK’s negotiating position, they are inevitably controversial. We are, therefore, equally pleased that a senior practitioner has agreed to kick off the response. Alan Houmann, an old friend of the CSFI, is head of EMEA government affairs at Citi, having previously held senior positions at CEBS, the FSA, the European Commission and the UK Treasury. For his sins he also chairs Brexit-related committees for TheCityUK and UK Finance and is hoping to get a consensus industry view in front of Westminster and Whitehall, and maybe even Brussels.  

Market access is obviously the elephant in the room as far as the City is concerned, and (while one must believe that more progress is being made than gets reported in the press) the mood music is not very encouraging so far. DExEU needs all the good ideas it can get. So, please come and listen to three of the City’s leading experts – and, perhaps, share your thoughts. If you can make it, let us know by emailing or by phoning the Centre (0207 621 1056). As usual, there will be wine and sandwiches; we may need both.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton