EU to rebalance, not shut City of London’s market access

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s access to European Union markets will be rebalanced, but the City of London will not be shut out completely, the bloc’s financial services chief Valdis Dombrovskis said.

Dombrovskis set out plans on Thursday to bolster the EU’s own capital market to cut its reliance on Britain, Europe’s biggest financial centre, which fully leaves the bloc at the end of December.

“We are not closing our doors to financial services in the UK,” Dombrovskis told reporters, adding that there will be a “rebalancing” of British financial activities in the bloc.

Brussels has said it will not, for now, allow the City of London to directly offer investment services to EU customers under its access system known as equivalence.

“EU rules in this area are not fully finalised yet so we cannot provide equivalence for something that is still a work in progress,” Dombrovskis said.

It does not mean the EU market is closed as British-based firms could use bilateral access available from some member states, he added, a step lawyers have said is cumbersome.

Britain and the EU failed to meet a June deadline for assessing two-way access for financial services from January.

Dombrovskis said he has asked Britain for more information after it said it would diverge from some EU rules.

“We need to understand what kind of divergence Britain is talking about and what are the potential implications,” he said.

Brussels has already said it will allow EU investors to continue using clearing houses in London until June 2022.

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