Brexit messes with banking strategy


When the seemingly impossible Brexit decision happened, all throughout Europe the many tributaries that run from legislation through to banking began to shift. Despite the fears of panicked leaders across the European Union, most it seems, hope to keep financial regulations in place and running as smoothly as possible.

Keeping ties

As the banks look to heal from the unlikely Brexit result, they are making preparations to lobby politicians to maintain financial regulations. Their hope is that by using measures to keep rules intact, they will be able to minimise the disruption to all parties as much as possible.

The head of the British Bankers’ Association, Anthony Browne, told the Financial Times that the connection between British banks and the European Union banks would need to carry on.

“It is important that we do not have a bonfire of EU red tape because it could damage our relations with the EU,” said Mr. Browne.

U.K. banks no longer have the EU as helping hand.U.K. banks no longer have the EU as a helping hand.

The loss of billions

Brexit has virtually wiped billions of pounds off their market value, which is now reaching a 30-year low. On Tuesday, the banking executives from Britain’s top banks – as well as foreign banks that have significant U.K. dealings – converged in London – to outline a first response to the Brexit vote.

One lawyer at a magic-circle firm told the Financial Times that any selective special treatment would threaten the UK’s position.

“The main priorities for the banks are financial stability and keeping market access. It’s very hard to find a senior person at a large financial institution who thinks that a selective breach of EU law is a good idea right now,” said the source.

According to the Wall Street Journal, British banks have managed to mitigate the initial aftermath of the U.K. referendum, but with some economists predicting the British pound will hit parity with the U.S. dollar by 2017, the mood is still resoundingly despondent.

The feeling of uncertainty and cynicism surrounds the myriad of questions that are as of yet left unanswered. Shaun Osborne, chief currency strategist at Scotiabank, told the Market Watch that these looming questions need answers as soon as possible, least the pound continue to weaken.

“We think investors should be prepared for the risk of

[pound] weakness extending quite significantly in the next few months, while uncertainty surrounding how the U.K. moves forward persists,” said Mr. Osborne.

For both winners, and the losers, goal posts are being shifted, and strategies adapted.

A change in strategy

Now, analysts at banks and lenders are concerned about how they will deal with the longer-term difficulties. Changes to banking strategy are already in the mix, but the strategic shifts are based on guesswork and nothing concrete, which is clearly going to be causing issues to do with the strategic long-term planning for banks.

Many are trying to predict what British politicians will do by carefully looking at and scrutinizing every inch of the likely banking regulatory rule changes that will eventuate from the leaving negotiations.

Thomas Moore, an investment director at Standard Life Investments, told the Wall Street Journal that many were feeling uneasy.

“It’s outside of most people’s comfort zone,” said Mr. Moore.

While it seems destruction looms everywhere, there are some Brexit winners. According to one senior executive at Barclays in London, their company has no plan to alter its strategy, although this is because the firm gets 60 per cent of its investment-banking revenue from the U.S – a fall in the dollar value of the sterling makes their income more valuable.

For banks where their revenue and investments are situated more predominantly within the U.K, the pressure is increasing – especially on executive teams. They are currently tasked with pushing through strategies that aim to reduce costs – meanwhile investors are preparing for cuts to dividends.

For both winners and the losers, goal posts are being shifted, and strategies adapted for a future that became overnight very unpredictable.