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Boardman on Brexit: Not good news but the City’s edge won’t reverse in an instant

We’ll be bringing you reaction throughout the day, but this just in from Slaughter and May corporate heavyweight Nigel Boardman:

‘I was a Remain vote. In the short-term one only has to see the impact on sterling and the stock market to see that it’s not good news. Medium to long-term, it’s to be proved. It depends upon the degree that we’re successful at negotiating new deals with foreign countries. With the EU there is an issue about them not wanted to create a precedent of an easy exit but, on the other hand, we’re a major trading partner.

‘We’ve heard from banks of some contingency plans that wouldn’t be good for London if they implemented them. They’re in London for a variety of reasons, one of which is that we’re in the EU. If you go back to 1987 when we had the Big Bang, London was not an obvious financial centre and Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris could all claim to be close to London’s level. London has pulled ahead during the intervening period and it’s unlikely that would reverse in an instant, as it would take time to build up the infrastructure elsewhere. It would be possible to do a significant amount of reshuffling within the existing structure and then over time one would have to see whether London remained a competitive and suitable place.

‘Nothing happens immediately. The major issue is the uncertainty as to what will happen, rather than certainty of particular outcomes. Usually uncertainty is not bad for financial markets as people make money by movement of prices rather than stable prices and for lawyers times of uncertainty mean more work.

‘We will have a new prime minister and that will have an impact on the way in which we run ourselves. We will probably have a referendum in Scotland, we may have a referendum in Northern Ireland. We have seen a degree of anti-establishment vote at very high levels and it’s difficult to see a government not responding in some way to the disenchantment that the vote has shown. Politicians have focused too much on Westminster and not enough on noises in their own constituencies. That doesn’t necessary mean anti-business but it does mean listening to the concerns of the electorate.’

For more analysis see: ‘The profession reels as shock Brexit vote sends UK crashing out of EU… and into years of uncertainty’

You can click here and here to see our two-part Insight special on Brexit.