Industry Surveys

Minority Of EU Nationals Say They Will Continue Working For UK's Investment Industry - Survey

Robbie Lawther Reporter London 18 October 2017

Minority Of EU Nationals Say They Will Continue Working For UK's Investment Industry - Survey

The survey by CFA Society UK had around 1,100 respondents working with the UK investment management industry.

Only 42 per cent of European Union nationals are confident they will continue to work in the UK investment management industry after Britain leaves the EU bloc, according to a survey by the CFA Society UK.

The survey, which had around 1,100 respondents from all backgrounds within the UK investment management sector, comes at a time when the UK government is trying to hammer out a exit deal with the EU. A sense that talks are struggling to reach a result has fuelled thoughts that Theresa May's administration may settle for no deal and hence no guaranteed access to the Single Market customs union, access to which is said to be critical for the services sector. At present, EU nationals can come and go to the UK without need for work visas and other permits required, for example, for a person working in Australia, the US and many other countries outside the bloc.

The survey found that around 16 per cent of EU nationals plan to leave the UK, and the remainder of the EU national respondents are undecided. 

Also, the survey found an overwhelming 91 per cent of EU respondents indicated that they consider the competitiveness of the UK as a financial centre to have deteriorated, compared to 71 per cent of British respondents.

CFA Society UK said the survey results demonstrate the angst in the industry about what an exit from the EU will mean for the UK financial sector.

By contrast, a high proportion of investment professionals from non-EU countries still foresee a future working in the UK. More than three quarters (81 per cent) of British investment management professionals indicated in the survey that they plan to continue working in the country following Britain’s departure from the EU. And 69 per cent of those holding non-EU international passports indicated the same. The vast majority of the latter (80 per cent) are nationals of Asian and North American countries.

Despite uncertainties about the future of the profession in light of Brexit, 48 per cent of UK investment management professionals polled also stated that they would encourage non-UK citizens to work in the UK.

According to the survey, 60 per cent of British nationals feel that their job is secure, followed by 52 per cent of non-EU international employees and only 43 per cent of EU nationals.

“While many of the outcomes of Brexit remain unclear, we can certainly expect a change in the profile of the investment management workforce in the UK,” said Will Goodhart, chief executive of CFA Society UK. “Many EU professionals working here intend to move to other markets once Britain has left the European Union, and we may see this increasing over the coming months.”

“The resulting fall in the representation of EU nationals will be a huge loss for the UK market and it is crucial to minimise this as much as possible. Currently, an even greater number of EU professionals are unsure about the future. It will be vital to resolve the issues impacting the City post-Brexit quickly and favourably in order to retain those that are undecided about their plans. If the City doesn't attract and retain the best talent from all regions, its ability to serve clients and the end investor will be weakened," he said. 

There seems to be no clear future for the UK at the moment in regards to Brexit, and Prime Minister May and Brexit negotiator David Davis will have to make sure progress is made because patience is running thin for many in the UK and outside of the country.

If the UK does not secure a negotiated deal, it is feared that the UK will have to rely on the minimum tariffs regime of the World Trade Organisation group of countries. While the WTO regime covers manufactured goods - where the UK has a trade deficit with continental Europe - it doesn't apply to the services sector, which is a vital earnings source for the UK. There is debate on whether the cost to UK-based firms of getting access to the EU market, such as by setting up local subsidiaries, would be more or less than the current overall cost to the UK taxpayer in terms of net contributions to the EU, seen as the "membership price" of Single Market access. 

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