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UK to welcome foreign investment banks


A regulatory shift will make the UK more welcoming to investment banks from countries such as China, increasing the countries links with emerging economies as well as potentially generating new jobs in the south-east and elsewhere.

Furthermore, this move could bolster London's status as a financial centre as the capital continues to attract financial services providers from across the globe.

In the past, pressure was placed on non-EU lenders operating branches in the UK to become standalone subsidiary operations with their own capital and liquidity buffers, which is a considerably more onerous task, reports Reuters.

Initially, this scheme is likely to be targeted at Chinese banking operations, which are keen to open up in new markets as the country's economy continues to expand and mature.

However, in the future other non-EU operations could look to launch branches in the UK, with emerging economies beginning to engage in a two-way process of investment rather than simply welcoming cash from their more developed counterparts.

There are 145 branches of international investment and retail banks in Britain, accounting for 30 per cent of assets in the country's financial system.

But despite this shift in the regulatory environment, there are still a number of legislative demands banks will need to adhere to if they wish to operate in the UK.

The rules, which the Bank of England has put out to public consultation, mean that firms need to have a strict home supervisor, deposits insured within a UK scheme and the proven ability to wind up quickly without losing access to deposits.

"Resolution will be a key deciding factor in the PRA's judgements and is ultimately where it will place most emphasis when forming a view on its risk appetite towards branches operating in the United Kingdom," said the central bank.

The Prudential Regulation Authority, the Bank of England's regulatory arm, will require that the foreign organisations report data to them on a regular basis in order to keep track of their operating model.

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