Brussels for Breakfast (148)
Held on Tuesday, March 12, 2019
With support from CISI
Graham Bishop (grahambishop.com)
Andrew Henderson (Eversheds Sutherland)
Denis MacShane (Avisa)
These days, our B4B meetings are forays into the unknown. And, as March 29 gets closer, it gets harder and harder to concentrate on the many other things besides Brexit that the European institutions are up to. Still (and I say this with some regret), the markets are increasingly confident that our Date With Destiny will either be cancelled altogether or, at the very least, will be kicked into the long(ish) grass. I realise all the problems with postponing beyond the formal convocation of the next European Parliament (and, indeed, with getting the EU27 to agree to any postponement), but, if you look at sterling, that is clearly what the Big Money is expecting.
Which means that we will still need the gentle guidance of our uber-European, the ineffable Graham Bishop, to explain just what our Lords and Masters in Brussels have in store for us. You all know Graham: his own website describes him as 'renowned for his vision...(and)... mastery of the technical details of the financial system' - and I certainly wouldn't dissent from that. Nor would I dissent from his description of himself as a 'one-man think-tank' and 'dedicated europhile'. He knows his stuff - which is important because, in addition to all the hoo-hah over Brexit, we are having to cope with some genuinely important new initiatives in the fiscal area (notably the Franco-German joint proposal on a eurozone budgetary instrument) and the impact of the new STS securitization rules.
But, of course, it is Brexit that really matters - and how/whether the City survives the shocks that are already battering it. We have had mixed news on that in the last month or so - though I am mildly encouraged by ESMA's one-year licenses for LCH, ICEClear and LMEClear. Others may, however, take a different view. One who is certain to do so is our old friend, Denis MacShane, who has agreed to back Graham up this month.
As all of you know, he was Minister for Europe under Tony Blair, and also served on the Council of Europe and NATO's Parliamentary Assembly. He has written 18 books, has a PhD from London University and (in his own words) 'has one of the best address books for key European political, media, policy and official deciders'. He is currently an adviser to Avisa Partners.
So, that's two rabid Remainers... Fortunately, we have another (and, I hope, more dispassionate) panelist this month. Andrew Henderson is a partner in the financial institutions group at Eversheds Sutherland, where he is also one of the firm's specialist Brexit lawyers. South African by background, he has a PhD from Cambridge (beat that Denis!), and contributed the MiFID chapter in both Gore-Browne on Company Law and the 4th edition of Financial Services Law. Anyone who loves MiFID that much has my admiration.
Obviously, this is a critical time for City firms, and for financial practitioners. If you (or a colleague) would like to join us, and perhaps share your own thoughts/concerns, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. Thanks to the hospitality of our friends at the CISI, there will be plenty of tea, coffee and buns to help the medicine go down.
PS: Please bring photo ID to show for entry to the Walkie-Talkie.