The EU and UK approach the December 31 deadline for a post-Brexit trade agreement. Today, after tumultuous talks in a year with unprecedented events, the likelihood of a no-deal is low – but final issues remain open to ensure a smooth transition for businesses. One major topic is financial services and capital markets, a huge priority for the UK.
UK financial services activity in the EU, and vice versa, will have to operate under a different scheme than is currently possible under EU laws. In order to continue the extensive cross border EU-UK financial services activities, many sub-sectors will need to obtain EU approval on the equivalence of its rules with EU law. This is a sensitive point that many UK firms like to see resolved more securely. As many of them already adjusted their structure to operate within the EU borders, where does it leave London?
Whatever the outcome, a new equilibrium will take time. Where the UK diverges from EU regulation, new raises location choices for financial firms will appear.
The City of London will want to operate within the boundaries of the EU regulation, but also promote itself as an continuously attractive hub for global finance. That presents a dilemma: have less access the EU market, or submit to the regulatory principles of the EU.
In this interview by Isabel Verkes, Georges Ugeux gives his views on what to expect from the financial sector post-Brexit. Georges is Chairman and CEO of GALILEO GLOBAL ADVISORS and adjunct professor at COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL. Isabel is a research associate at the same firm.
A lawyer and economist by training, Georges Ugeux has focused his entire 30 year career on the global dimensions of business, government and finance and has a deep understanding of the cultural dimension of negotiations, networks and partnerships. He is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University where he teaches International Banking & Finance.
Georges began his career in commercial banking at Société Générale de Banque (now Fortis Bank), where he became the General Manager of the investment banking and trust division. He later served as Managing Director of Morgan Stanley’s Mergers and Acquisitions department, as well as Group Finance Director at Société Générale de Belgique, a Belgian conglomerate. In 1992, he became President and Managing Director of Kidder, Peabody Europe. He was also a member of the European Corporate Executive Council of General Electric. He was President of the European investment Fund, a public private partnership financing infrastructure and SME projects owned by the European Investment Bank, the European Community and 77 European banks.
For seven years Georges immersed himself in the global equity markets by heading the International Group of the New York Stock Exchange, bringing over 300 non-US companies, valued at $ 2.7 trillion, to the US market. He is a frequent public speaker and educator on global issues (The College of Europe in Bruges, Harvard Law School and others).
Georges Ugeux holds a Doctorate in Law and is Licentiate in Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain. He is a former director of AXA Tianping, a Shanghai based insurance company and chairs numerous transatlantic organizations.
Isabel Verkes moved to New York City in 2014 to gain additional corporate experience in an international setting. She has a background in philosophy and law, from the University of Amsterdam and Columbia Law School. She is specialized in international finance and sustainability, and is as an associate focused on policy and regulatory strategies. Isabel has a special interest in quantitative analysis of textual data, and has a MSc in data visualization from Parsons School of Design. She is fluent in Dutch and English.