Finance

UK and Singapore agree financial partnership

The UK government has agreed a financial partnership with Singapore.

The commitment, announced on 30 June, “will facilitate closer cooperation, greater information sharing and opportunities to boost trade and investment” between the two countries and “help to boost jobs and investment in the UK”, according to a statement from the government’s Treasury department.

The partnership, agreed by UK chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak and Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s senior minister and the chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, also commits both sides to strengthen cooperation on areas such as fintech, green finance and cybersecurity.

Sunak said of the agreement: “Our financial services industry helps to grow the economy and create jobs, and today’s agreement is a landmark step in showing the UK — as one of the world’s preeminent financial centres — is both open to the world and committed to maintaining the highest standards of regulation.

“Our financial partnership will help increase investment and trade with Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region and boost collaboration on important areas such as fintech and green finance.”

UK policymakers’ efforts to make the City of London a premier financial hub post-Brexit are proving challenging in some sectors. Uncertainty around the UK’s split from the trading bloc has made London less attractive to internationally-mobile high net worth individuals, according to a report by Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer.

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Goldman Sachs analysts, including chief UK economist Steffan Ball, meanwhile, said in April that they were concerned about the future of financial services in a post-Brexit world, citing a “lack of clarity” over the future of trade and dismissing the significance of a March framework for regulatory cooperation between the two sides.

Brussels-based European regulatory specialists have warned repeatedly that the EU is unlikely to grant UK firms greater access to European markets, at least not in the near term.

In the meantime, around 7,600 jobs have moved out of the UK to continental Europe in compliance with Brexit, EY said in October, as City firms seek to meet European regulators requirements for companies doing business in the EU after Brexit to have a substantial presence in the region.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email Lucy McNulty

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