(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government promised to make sure London keeps its place as the leading financial center after Brexit, following top-level talks between global bank chiefs and senior ministers.
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis met representatives of HSBC Holdings Plc, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Barclays Plc and other senior figures from financial services for talks in London, according to a statement posted on the government website.
“As the U.K. exits the EU, we are determined that our country remains a great place to invest and to do business,” Hammond and Davis said in a joint statement following the meeting on Monday. “Our financial-services sector makes a crucial contribution to our economy and we will work together to ensure it continues as the hub for both Europe and the rest of the world.”
The Daily Telegraph reported the ministers also said banks would not get special treatment over other industries despite their status in the U.K. economy. The industry accounts for 12 percent of total exports, contributes more than 60 billion pounds ($76 billion) in tax annually and employs 1 million people.
Senior figures have raised fears that Brexit will damage their ability to provide services across the European Union if the U.K. loses passporting rights, which allow financial-services firms to operate freely in all 28 member states.
Despite criticizing aspects of globalization and capitalism in her first months in power, Prime Minister Theresa May has struck a more conciliatory tone in recent weeks, seeking to reassure businesses that she understands their concerns over Brexit. After Monday’s meeting, Davis, who will lead the work to negotiate the Brexit deal, and Hammond underlined their commitment to minimizing damage to the City of London.
“We want the best deal for trade in U.K. goods and services, including our world-leading financial-services industry,” they said. “That is why these meetings, where we listen closely to the sector’s views on the potential impact and opportunities offered by us leaving the EU, are so important.”
Those attending included representatives from the U.K. banking, insurance, asset management and market infrastructure sectors. Discussions covered “the opportunities and challenges” that leaving the EU presents to the industry.
* The guest list included: Inga Beale, Lloyd’s of London CEO; Tim Ingram, Chair, QBE; John McFarlane, Chair, Barclays; Shriti Vadera, Chair, Santander; Michelle Pinggera, Partner, Goldman Sachs; Patrick Olson, COO Europe, BlackRock; William Nott, CEO, M&G Securities; Nikhil Rathi, CEO, LSEG; Sherard Cowper-Coles, Head of Group Government Affairs, HSBC; Andy Briggs, Chairman, Association of British Insurers.