The Prime Minister delivered the letter to the European Authorities today in relation to Article 50 triggering of Brexit. It’s an extraordinary moment politically but I think the main point to note is legally it changes absolutely nothing right now. We now start a process of negotiation but as far as the law is concerned the EU and the UK remain together, the UK is a member of the EU and in particular for practical purposes things like MiFID II implementation and other implementations of directives or application of regulations will carry on. We have also got the Great Reform Bill of course being brought in and at least at the beginning it looks like it’s going to incorporate European law fully and then will gradually work out from there. So that’s point 1.
Point 2 is, what are we actually seeing in the market? So what we are seeing people do is think about their scenarios and their options. Scenarios in the sense of thinking of what many firms did last year about their footprint, looking at the various different possibilities for the negotiations, that’s on the one side, and on the other side, thinking about their options, to what extent do you need non-shore entity? To what extent is it ok just staying in the UK and doing business into the EU and indeed for many firms, banks - European banks in particular - to what extent does one need to think about the footprint here and whether that is adequate. So all of those things are in play.
The primary message really is that we are going to have a complex process, there are going to be rumours, there are going to be ups and downs, it’s going to be a question of balancing that political process against the commercial and legal needs which just need to be maturely thought about.
We will be running a series of events in the year to try and keep close to what is going - tell clients what the developments are and inform the process as much as we can with clients and with the authorities.