Britain should lose its financial passport, says Yves Perrier

Britain should be denied a financial passport to the European Union after Brexit, according to the chief executive of Amundi, one of Europe’s largest asset managers.

“Britain should not have a financial passport after Brexit,” said Yves Perrier (pictured), whose company has about €1 trillion of assets under management. “This is not because we want to punish Britain but because it is a consequence of leaving the union.”

Speaking at a conference in Paris, Perrier said he regretted the UK’s vote to leave the EU but said Brexit was a chance for the remaining 27 member states to strengthen their relationship.

Perrier’s views were echoed by other French asset managers at the event, who said they saw Brexit as a chance to seize business from London.

“On the one hand I’m saddened by Brexit,” said Didier Le Menestrel, chairman of La Financière de l’Echiquier, a French fund manager with €7.6 billion under management. “But, this is a critical moment. Britain will take a step back in the financial industry and we should take advantage of that.”

Le Menestrel remarked that France had produced many skilled finance workers. “Some of them have moved to Britain in exile,” he said. “We will bring them back.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Commission, also spoke, stating that Britain’s need for a financial passport depended on its leaving the single market, which was not confirmed.

“We are not clear which direction the UK government will go, therefore we encourage the UK government to minimise this period of uncertainty.”

If Britain does leave the single market, negotiations for a future settlement could concern regulatory equivalence with the EU as in the case of non-European passporting under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), he said.

Some speakers suggested the EU should take a hard line with post-Brexit Britain. Agnès Romatet-Espagne, a director in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said “negotiations would be pointless” if they made it easy for third-party countries to gain passporting rights.

The European Congress of Asset Management conference was organised by the French asset management association AFG.

©2016 funds europe

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