Theres far more to the Citys future than Brexit

Today, the eighth annual City Week conference gets underway at the Guildhall in the heart of the Square Mile.

Leading figures from the global financial services community come together to chew over the latest trends, challenges and policies affecting the sector, and to look ahead to the forces that will shape it in the coming year.

London remains the natural home for such a high-profile conference, sitting as it does atop the global rankings of financial centres.

Just last week, advisory giant Duff & Phelps revealed that London has seized the crown from New York in its latest annual survey of global finance chiefs, with their head of regulatory consulting, Monique Melis, noting that “Brexit has provided the backdrop for showing the importance of London in the global capital markets”.

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As you would expect, Brexit features heavily at this weeks Guildhall conference. Speakers include Morgan Stanley International CEO Robert Rooney, Katherine Garrett-Cox of the Gulf International Bank, the EUs commissioner for financial services Valdis Dombrovskis, Soc Gens chair Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, FCA boss Andrew Bailey and Banque de France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau, to name just a few.

The agenda is riddled with references to Brexit, including a session on “the view from the EU”, though the conference comes just days after the Bank of England and the chancellor Philip Hammond downgraded and played down, respectively, fears of City job losses.

The Bank thinks as few as 5,000 are at risk of relocation due to Brexit while Hammond maintains that international banks are “relatively relaxed” about Britains departure from the bloc, and any future job moves “remain in pretty low numbers”.

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As if to reinforce the idea that the City is capable of getting on with life while politicians hammer things out in Brussels, the City Week agenda gives most of the conference time to topics such as global green finance, restoring trust in financial services, Chinas One Belt One Road initiative, fintech, the future of global regulation and opportunities in India.

Brexit, for all its disruptive implications, is just one of the many forces that will shape Londons future. As this conference shows, there is a lot to focus on beyond the EU.

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