Over the past year, we have seen the UK financial services industry undergo significant changes, with new regulations such as PSD2 driving innovation and changing the way we send and receive money. But what does 2019 hold? A number of key events are on the horizon that make the coming year an uncertain one for the UK’s financial services firms.
The UK’s upcoming divorce from the EU will not come without costs, and no matter what the eventual scenario, those costs will be substantial and far-reaching, on both sides of the fence. UK banks already have a lot on their plates in the form of new-regulation compliance, but it is now or never to prepare for EU-27 inclusion after March 2019.
Financial institutions in the UK are waking up to the inevitability of Brexit, and thus they are beginning to budget for contingency plans, especially after the Bank of England requested that banks submit their plans for a hard exit. Planning ahead now is certainly prudent, as not doing so is guaranteed to leave banks struggling to cope with new regulations and changing market conditions.
Although the fine details have yet to be ironed out, there is no doubt that Brexit will have significant and long-lasting effects on financial-services institutions and businesses in the UK and the EU27. A hard-Brexit is the most jarring scenario, so what are the likely costs of a hard landing after all the negotiations are completed and the dust settles?
Like any divorce, Brexit is going to get complicated—even more so because of the variety of contradictory opinions about how it should be handled. There are four main scenarios, ranging from “smooth” and “transitional” to “cliff-edge” and “chaotic”. Prime Minister Theresa May is rooting for a “hard Brexit”, but many others are hoping for a much softer landing.
Just as the United Kingdom appeared to be making some progress on determining its route out of Europe, British politics once again threw up the most unpredictable of scenarios. The nation’s general election on June 8 resulted in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party failing to win a parliamentary majority.
Since the global financial crisis, central banks have resorted to monetary policy to pull their economies out of the abyss. But the time may have arrived for fiscal policy to share centre stage as the limitations of monetary policy become more apparent, and national decision-makers turn away from further fiscal-austerity measures toward stimulus.
Europe’s vision of idyllic unity has lost its glow due to rampant immigration, regulation and debt, causing nationalist parties to ride the waves of public anger. None of these crises have benefited European banks, with some teetering on the brink. But solutions exist that if implemented will restore growth and financial stability.
Theresa May faces two years of complex talks to unpick the UK from the fabric of the European Union and establish a new relationship with her EU partners. But before she gets there, she faces one significant hurdle: the UK’s outstanding EU bill.
Following a period of political turmoil and uncertainty in the UK, the new prime minister, Theresa May, has taken a stand on her views for business reform. She has vowed to enforce worker representatives on boards as part of her vision of “putting people back in control”.