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Britain taking steps to boost London’s financial competitiveness


(Reuters) — Britain is just at the beginning of post-Brexit efforts to keep London a top global financial center, but deregulation will be selective to ensure high standards are kept, financial services minister Andrew Griffith said Thursday.

Finance represents one in every £10 of U.K. economic output but has been largely cut off from the European Union by Brexit, prompting industry calls to ease red tape to cope with competition from Paris and Frankfurt, as well as New York and Singapore.

Britain has proposed a draft law to reform parts of the financial sector to cut insurance capital requirements, regulate stablecoins and end restrictions on trading shares, but Mr. Griffith said there was more to come.

“I am determined to do everything I can to help this industry succeed. ... We are only just getting started,” Mr. Griffith told an event held by TheCityUK, which promotes the financial sector abroad.

Financial sector access to the EU faces being reduced further as the bloc is set to propose a law next week to put pressure on EU banks to shift clearing of their euro derivatives from London to the bloc.

“There is ... no reason why the U.K. cannot and should not continue to provide clearing services for countries in the EU, indeed around the world,” Mr. Griffith said, adding Britain this week was taking steps to raise already high standards for clearers.

Faced with calls from industry and some lawmakers for Britain to reap “Brexit dividends,” Mr. Griffith said there would be a further package of reforms to “selectively” repeal EU financial rules.

“It will never be deregulation for deregulation's sake,” Mr. Griffith said.