On 1st December 2021, Michel Barnier was in London for final negotiations on the UK/EU trade agreement which staggeringly has still not been resolved.
Both sides are making final manoeuvres, both sides suggesting no deal is better than a bad deal, both sides acting in their own interests and both sides prepared to walk away. After years of discussions we are down to less than a month before the transition period ends and politicians on all sides may have failed us all. Brexit can go 2 ways: deal or no deal.
For financial services, this means by 31/12/20 it is either Equivalence or No Deal. For financial advice from the UK or on UK pensions, investments and assets for both British Expats living in Europe and European resident nationals with UK interests, this can mean two things. Deal = Equivalence, No Deal = UK advisers no longer advising clients in Europe.
Equivalence is a test where if UK regulations are equivalent to those in Europe than financial services may be allowed from UK into Europe.
- This should have been delivered in June 2020 but the deadline was missed and the EU suggests it will not be delivered by Jan 2021 anyway
- Finance services is not part of the “Trade deal” as it is a service so the test is: Equivalency – allows access based upon regulations equivalent to EU or must be robust. The UK already matches this (indeed EU regulators tend to follow what the FCA is doing) but the EU wants the UK to offer assurances that we will not deviate.
- The FCA is clearly expecting no deal or a delayed ‘equivalence’ test and to remove doubt for EU financial firms ‘passporting’ into the UK, it has already set up a “Temporary Permissions Regime” TPR so that EU firms can be temporarily authorised in the UK with a view to fully being authorised by 2022. The EU has offered no such reciprocal arrangements for UK financial firms ‘passporting’ into Europe.
- Bank Account problem – investment banking sales, trading and retail banking are NOT in equivalence test. This is why many expats in EU have already been written to advising that their UK bank accounts are likely to be closed in UK and across EU, no doubt UK residents with bank accounts in the EU may expect the same.
- If equivalence is agreed, financial advice from the UK on assets in the UK to EU residents will continue.
NO DEAL: we, along with other financial advisers have the following options
- Set up a firm and get authorised in an EU state
- Join an EU network
- Partner with an EU firm and take a back seat – this is the route we will take and already have relationships with EU authorised firms
- We will offer advice on UK based assets with the EU authorised adviser overseeing this to ensure it complies with local laws where you are resident. Non UK assets will need to advised on by the EU authorised adviser.
Ongoing financial advice in Europe if No Deal
For us, we will not offer advice on ‘new monies’ i.e. no new pensions or new investment advice will be accepted. We will continue to look after clients UK wealth only.