Germany’s financial services urge restrictions to UK’s single market access


More than two thirds of German financial services companies say they want the UK’s access to the single market restricted following Brexit, as it sees a “once in a century chance” to secure Frankfurt’s role as Europe’s leading financial centre.

A survey by Frankfurt Main Finance and the Center for Fiscal Studies found 68 per cent of financial companies believe the UK’s access to the EU market should be restricted after Brexit, while 22 per cent believed it should retain its existing access.

An overwhelming 95 per cent of respondents expected Frankfurt to benefit from Brexit, while 6 per cent believed it would be positive for London. Two thirds believed Paris would benefit and 15 per cent thought Amsterdam would profit.

Frankfurt’s securities trading and settlement activities were seen to be the biggest beneficiaries with 78 per cent believing they would profit, while half see opportunities for asset management and corporate banking, followed closely by professional services (43 per cent).

Just over half of respondents believe the European Banking Authority (EBA) will move from London to Frankfurt. Paris, Amsterdam and Spain have also made pitches for the EU agency.

“Frankfurt was well prepared for a Brexit. We will make every effort to take advantage of this once in a century chance,” says Hubertus Väth, managing director of Frankfurt Main Finance. “We hope that the Financial Centre Frankfurt will become the bridge between London and the Eurozone.”

Fifteen per cent of respondents believe Brexit will have a negative impact on the German economy, 45 per cent believe the impact will be neutral, while 35 per cent believe it will be positive for the economy.

It was crucial that Frankfurt lobbied key decision-makers to highlight its key strengths, says managing director of the Center for Financial Studies said Professor Volker Brühl, who anticipates “stiff competition” between locations around Europe.

Potential bottlenecks to Germany’s success were a shortage of living space, according to 72 per cent of respondents. Half (53 per cent) are concerned about recruiting enough qualified staff, while 27 per cent were concerned about transport infrastructure.

A report by PwC published this week forecast Dublin would take London’s crown as Europe’s most important financial services centre if the UK lost passporting rights.

The results were based on a quarterly management survey of approximately 400 companies in the German financial sector.