Brexit Moment in 80 Days, No One Knows What’ll Happen, London’s Finance Industry on Tenterhooks

The stakes are enormous.

By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

With just 80 days remaining until Brexit Day, March 29, nerves are fraying on both sides of the English Channel. Nowhere is this more true than in the City of London where the Square Mile’s dominance of the global financial industry faces its biggest threat in decades. In the City’s worst-case scenario — a crash-out Brexit on March 29 — London-based firms that have not prepped properly for this outcome could be cut off from the continent altogether.

Since moving key operations and staff across the channel is a costly, complex, timely undertaking, many companies have preferred to play a waiting game. But the clock continues to tick down, and as the risk of a disorderly exit grows, inaction is becoming a risky strategy.

Since the EU Referendum in June 2016, only 36% of the financial services companies in London have said they are considering or have confirmed relocating operations and/or staff to Europe, according to the latest edition of Ernst&Young’s Brexit Tracker (which monitors 222 financial services firms in the UK). This rises to 56% (27 out of 48) among universal banks, investment banks, and brokerages.

A total of 20 companies have already announced a transfer of assets out of London to Europe. “Not all firms have publicly declared the value of the assets being transferred, but the Brexit Tracker has followed public announcements worth around £800 billion ($1 trillion),” the report says.

This figure echoes findings by a study published in November by German trade group Frankfurt Main Finance (FMF), which estimated that London is poised to lose €800 billion ($900 billion) in balance-sheet assets by March 29. According to German Bank Helaba, Frankfurt alone has attracted 25 lenders looking to move part of their operations out of the City of London, including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, UBS, Nomura and Standard Chartered Bank.

Over the last quarter, 30% (67 out of 222) of firms monitored by E&Y’s Brexit Tracker confirmed at least one location in Europe to which they are moving, considering moving, or adding staff and/or operations, up from 25% last quarter. Dublin is the most sought after destination, with a total of 27 companies confirming they are moving or adding staff and/or operations there, up from 21 last quarter.

Paris has also gained in popularity, with 15 companies confirming they are moving or adding staff and/or operations to the French capital, up from 10 last quarter. Just four days ago Chubb European Group, one of the world’s biggest property and casualty insurers, became the latest financial firm to redomicile its businesses from London to France.

The City has suffered two even bigger blows in the last two months. In November U.S.-based CME group announced that it was shifting its European market for short-term financing, the largest in the EU, out of London to Amsterdam. Then in December, Union Investment, Germany’s second-biggest asset manager with over €330 billion euros under management, announced it would close existing euro-denominated swap trades at London’s LCH Ltd.

It’s not hard to see why London-based firms are increasingly getting cold feet — or at least a cold toe or two! Even if, by some miracle, Theresa May’s universally loathed Brexit deal is passed by parliament on January 15, UK-based financial firms will lose the passporting rights that for decades allowed them to trade freely across the EU. Instead, they will be subject to a so-called “equivalence” regime, which lets firms from non-EU countries adjudged to have similar financial regulations do business with the bloc.

But the system is sketchy, subject to change, and can be withdrawn by Brussels at virtually the drop of a hat. It will also be available only to certain parts of the finance sector such as securities trading. Wholesale and retail banking, retail investment funds, payments and insurance brokers will all be excluded. It’s also unclear what will happen to London’s highly lucrative clearing business over the long haul.

Yet — barring a humiliating Brexit policy U-turn by the May government that includes the withdrawal of article 50, and thus walking back from Brexit — that is as good as it’s likely to get for the UK’s financial services industry, which currently provides around £250 billion pounds each year to the UK economy and employs more than 1.1 million people. One firm in London, Pearl Accountants advised that they saw a decline in the number of new startups in 2019 due to the uncertainly of Brexit.

That said, London’s financial services are yet to suffer the mayhem that was widely forecast to follow the Brexit vote. The dire predictions by economists, bankers, and financial consultants that tens of thousands of financial-sector jobs would uproot to the continent have not come to pass. Most big bank relocations are in the low hundreds rather than the thousands. Even E&Y concedes that £800 billion of balance-sheet assets is a drop in the vast ocean of assets owned or managed by City-based firms. The U.K. banking sector alone is estimated to have almost £8 trillion in assets. And heavy breathing is underway in the UK parliament to avoid a no-deal Brexit. But if the parliament fails in that task and the UK crashes out on March 29, well, then, some of the math will need to be revised. By Don Quijones.

Rampant unaffordability has an impact. Read…  UK Housing Bubble Swoons as Brexit-Day Nears. London Hit Hardest

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  90 comments for “Brexit Moment in 80 Days, No One Knows What’ll Happen, London’s Finance Industry on Tenterhooks

  1. zoomev says:

    Would a crash out send EU markets into a tailspin. Is this just a threat to gain concessions?

    • Cashboy says:

      If the UK was able to leave the EC with no deal on the 29 March 2019 the EC would be doomed.
      financially the EC would lose the 29 Bn Euros plus the annual net contribution of 9 Bn Euros for the UK.
      If the UK survived and improved economically (I believe it would) then other EC countries would opt to leave the EC.
      The Euro would fall for sure and the GB Pound would rise.

      I look at Russia and since the USA put sanctions and forced the EC to put sanctions against Russia, Russia has been forced to become more independent and is actually stronger than it was before. I could see the same with the UK.

      Unfortunately; the UK government are weak and poor negotiators because they are all career politicians and simple civil servants.

  2. Ricky Tan says:

    They will force the people to re-vote for Brexit, and if I put my tin foil hat on, the stay vote will ” win ” and Brexit will be annulled… It will be one of the biggest financial collapses the modern world has seen if they pull out of EU without a deal, just the trading clearinghouse issue will be huge in itself. They are clearly wasting time to get to the point that they would have no choice but to postpone it, which EU has agreed UK can do, and they will re-vote for Brexit, which EU has said UK can cancel at anytime its wish to leave EU

    There is a push for Deglobalisation worldwide it seems, but I am not sure the UK Elites want to leave EU, some group is clearly pulling strings in hopes of another vote

    • Steve clayton says:

      They won’t revote. If they do there will be riots. Democracy is at stake. Regards Steve UK

      • HMG says:

        The biggest gamble of all would be another referendum with exactly the same question.

        This time Leave would mean no-deal , hard Brexit (specifically not the current 585 page ‘deal’ with a 39 billion charge out fee) and Remain means revoke Article 50.

        Simple straight forward. After such a vote who could complain ?

        Personally I am not sure what the result would be.

        Who could really be certain that the “no-one voted to be poorer” contingent would win second time around ?

        • HMG says:

          No matter what the result there would have to be a new occupant of No 10

        • char says:

          That 39 billion will be paid. Besides it is not exactly a gigantic seen from the size of the British economy (around 1.5%).

        • Cashboy says:

          HMG “Simple straight forward. After such a vote who could complain ? ”

          So what would happen if “Remain” won 52% to 48% on this second referendum.
          Then the “Leavers” would be entitled to another referendum (best of three) and it would go on.

          Therefore there should not be anothjer referendum !

          Next week is the vote in parliament whether the “Theresa May’s Deal” should be accepted or not.
          Remember that the EC has told the UK that Theresa May’s Deal
          is the only deal and nothing else negotiable.
          theresa May’s “Deal” is likely to be rejected.
          So if there is No Deal; then surely on logical basis there is “No Deal” and the Uk trades under WTO.
          There should not be another referendum!
          And what is the point in delaying the “Leave” as the EC has told the UK there is no more negotiating !

          The reality is that the EC is calling the UK bluff and the UK parliament cannot see it.
          The EC need the UK more than the UK needs the EC.

          Personally after seeing the way that the EC has treated the UK with regard to leaving (which was inflicted by the EC) I would have liked to treat it as war, without weapons against the EC.

          Theresa Mays Deal is actually leaving in name but not in real. In fact the UK would be in the same situation as it is “In” as now but would lose its voting right.

      • Aussie Esq says:

        Polling shows they want to stay. With good reason as Brexit is the utter joke and worst biz decision ever in history LOL.

        Make no mistake your glory days are past and the empire is gone. The UK matters very little either way to begin with. Brexit was a snake oil sales job and those like Mirage Farage have all but disappeared and made the shorts rich. Brexit is quite a stupid move. Good luck no matter as you will need it in spades

        • Alistair McLaughlin says:

          Actually, the morphing of the EU from simple trading bloc into “The United States of Europe” was the stupid move. Brexit is just a belated rearguard action to try to stop the bleeding and reverse the continued loss of national sovereignty.

        • c smith says:

          “The UK matters very little either way to begin with.” Tell that to the CEOs of VW, Daimler and BMW.

        • EMHO80 says:

          There is a common misconception among the British in believing that the EU started out as a trading bloc. That is incorrect.
          Starting with the Treaty of Rome european governments were clear that the goal was ever closer union. Trade harmonisation and integration was simply the first step in accomplishing this goal.
          The UK was aware of this as well, and begged to join but was twice prevented from joining by DeGaul!
          When the UK joined in 1973 and held a referendum in 1975 to reaffirm its membership, it was made clear that it was a political union as well. The Daily Mail and Telegraph wrote op-eds about the benefits of this political union. Incidentally, both papers are and were conservative.
          If there was any deception in regard to the EEC/EC/EU it originated from UK politicians, newspapers and other special interests later on.
          UK government was fully on board signing the Maastricht treaty under PM Major.
          However, the UK also received special opt-outs and rebates not available to anyone else. It had the best of both worlds, and this was still not enough!
          I am glad the UK is leaving, it has become an abusive and ill mannered member of the union.
          How the UK leaves is up to her citizens, but it will be on their heads.

        • John Henderson says:

          Is that the same polls that said remain last time.

        • HMG says:

          Aussie Esq? Polling shows they want to stay ??

          Really? You may be right but how can you be certain?

          “Polling showed before the referendum that most people wanted to stay” .

          “Polling showed before the USA election that most people would vote for for Hillary.”

          Well the secret ballot system that happens in U.S.A and UK is a very important part of democracy.

          Hence comments like “Brexit is an utter joke” is an insult to Democracy and if the “powers that be” do eventually manage to reverse the referendum result then it means that, after all, Democracy in so called western Civilisations is no different to African Pseudo-democracies where the power of the people is inferior to the the power of ‘the State’.

          Brexit is really a World Wide International Challenge to “Democracy” as Concept., ie the result of an election is acceptable if the outcome is what the elite want or they can sometimes accept given that Democracies have to accept a periodic change of power?

          In this unusual twist of circumstances if , and I quote ‘Brexit means Brexit’ eventually turns out to be just a meaningless propoganda slogan then maybe Goebbels and Hitler understood politics more than Nrs May.

        • safe as milk says:

          it’s important to remember that the treaty of lisbon was never voted on by the citizens of the eurpoean countries that ratified it. the only exception is ireland and even there it took two votes to get it through.

          the eu is like the hotel california,
          “Last thing I remember
          I was running for the door
          I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
          “Relax,” said the night man
          “We are programmed to receive
          You can check-out any time you like
          But you can never leave!”

        • Atu says:


          That is not correct.

          Entry to EEC by UK was a major betrayal. It was in base constitutional terms an act of treason. The post access referendum was an afterthought that was delayed until economics, propaganda, and hence sentiment, were assured – the British were not given a choice on joining, only of playing the part of disassemblers of the now quo.

          You say conservative which in UK simply means establishment.

          You do not know what you are talking or otherwise you seek to antagonise. I would post full unbiased links and detail to this but frankly you neither deserve the information, nor would know how to appreciate it. Instead I leave you to your self satisfied tone, surely you will find many who will commiserate with you as it is not often you are presented with an open target on which to blame the failings and excesses of your own bloc.

        • EMHO80 says:

          Dear Atu,
          I assume that you are british, if this is true please read my following statement.
          Your Members of Parliament were elected by their citizenry to represent and act on their behalf, that’s what a representative democrcy does. The voters reaffirmed their MP’s decision to join-these are facts, nothing more!
          If you were deceived, lied to or whatever-than this is your government’s fault.
          And it is up to you to push through changes that makes your country more representative/democratic. Perhaps abolishment of FPTP (first past the post) would help?
          In regard to failings of my bloc- I am fully aware of these-and thanks to you leaving, we continentals now have a chance to undo a quarter century of neoliberal/thatcherite/reagonimic plunder.
          I am an ordoliberal and belief in social democracy and a social market economy.
          I do hope things work out for you and find a better socio-economic model for yourself.
          Greetings from Germany.

        • HMG says:

          Cash Boy

          Yes , everything you say about the problems with a second referendum is true. The Scot Nats would want a second one of course.

          But it was a very serious suggestion that could be implemented before 29th March..
          I am a Leave means leave = Hard Brexit person.

          But I would prefer remain to Theresa’s deal, so in order to avoid Civil War I would accept a second vote with the SAME question. Even if the result is a Remain Inwould accept it.

          What I think is the Thresea’s deal is the worst option. It is not a compromise , it is a National humiliation.

      • Mike P says:

        The Powers That Be will force the plebiscites to re-vote – this will continue until the plebs vote for the “correct” answer.

        You see, you are free to vote… it just doesn’t mean anything.

    • fajensen says:

      There will be no re-vote, whether “forced” or not. While it is said that the UK can cancel Brexit anytime before the 31’st of March 2019, it is not really “The UK” as such, it is the UK Parliament *only* who has the authority to cancel Brexit.

      Bruxelles, being stickers for protocol and process, will make damn sure that Parliament cannot ooze out from under the hammer* by calling for a re-vote and then blowing another 2 years with bickering / figuring out what the result is supposed to mean. So, “no second referenda until we get it right”-option!

      There will be no postponing for longer than about June 2019. Bruxelles needs to do EU elections*, there is an EU budget to be done and when one does budgets it is well to have certainty. Whatever the form Brexit takes, at least the matter is settled on 1’st of April 2019. I imagine that especially the Germans wanted a defined end date for “the festivities”.

      *) The prospect of the EU parliament gaining a fresh crop of Farange’s and UKIP’ers, fully energised by the “betrayal of Brexit”, is probably worrying to Bruxelles so they will want to make damn sure that the UK Parliament legislates on the A.50 withdrawal, rather than letting May’s government decide alone. That’s what the “meaningful vote” means.

      May’s deal is not The Deal, it is a transition agreement to be replaced later with whatever will be The Deal. Assuming the UK is capable of formulating one, of course.

      • MD says:

        ‘The Deal’ is fixed and non-negotiable from the side of the EU.

        So the choice now is Brexit with a non-planned, no-deal exit, or acceptance of the deal as is. That is the vote on the 15th it would seem.

        Brexit won’t be delayed/cancelled IMO because that would be political suicide for the Tories, and May knows that would be the end of her.

        • Cashboy says:

          “‘The Deal’ is fixed and non-negotiable from the side of the EU.
          So the choice now is Brexit with a non-planned, no-deal exit, or acceptance of the deal as is. That is the vote on the 15th it would seem.”

          You would think that was the case. However I believe that “Theresa May’s Deal” will be rejected by UK government but the UK government will have a leter vote to not leave the EC without a Deal or delay the leave date.

          The UK should have bottle to leave without a Deal on the 29 March without a deal and trade under WTO.
          The 29 Bn payment and annual 9 Bn contribution would be saved and could be spent on making the UK independent.

          It can be seen that the German economy is not looking so good (recession) and would be hurt even more if the UK left the EC with no deal.

      • EMHO80 says:

        Everything you say is correct.
        What people need to understand is that the Withdrawal Agreement is really a divorce, with a political declaration -that is a promise for a future relationship- being a nonbinding add on.
        The future relationship could be anything from a basic FTA to membership in the EEA- the European Economic Area- which is the economic component of the EU and includes EFTA countries Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.
        The £39bn “fee” is not a fee, but a settlement of outstanding UK commitments to EU projects, ranging from infrastructure and research projects to pension obligations.

        • MD says:

          Oh let’s be clear it very much IS a fee – a punishment for leaving, in fact…after all, if you were part of a club and upon leaving you were asked to pay for future projects for a club you are no longer to be a member of merely on the flimsy pretext that these projects were planned whilst you WERE a member, you would rightly be angry and refuse to pay.

          Why should you pay when you won’t benefit from what you’re paying for?

        • char says:

          It is more akin to going an a holiday with a group of friends. If you decide to not go on the last moment your friends still expect you to pay.

        • EMHO80 says:

          I recommend that you read Dr. North’s website
          He is a leaver and a founding member of UKIP. The documentation he provides, not to mention EU and UK government sources are very clear, that this is not a fee.
          Dr. North is one of the few rational leavers who actually had a plan to leave that had a chance to work.
          In regard to being in a club:
          If I make a binding commitment to finance a club project than I will be required to uphold my commitment, even if I leave before that project starts. If not, I would rightfully be taken to court and loose.

        • Covey says:

          The problem with “the fee” is that in the Withdrawal Agreement there is no mention of £39bn or any list of what the agreement covers in the way of liabilities. There are references to liabilities, but the wording states that the EU will bill the UK for all the liabilities the EU think we owe.

          If I state that you owe me money, you have a right under law to receive a detailed bill/invoice showing what you owe and when it is due to be paid. You have the right to challenge that bill in a Court and argue if you feel that the money is not owed.

          In the case of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU decides what they think the UK owes, and we can only challenge it in the ECJ, which just happens to be the EU enforcement arm, and which over rides UK law until such time as we leave.

        • HMG says:

          Whatever you call it is still a lot of money to most people.

          My questions are

          Do we pay it in £ Sterling or €’s . Will the B of England have to borrow it or ‘print it ?

          Secondly is it all paid up front or is it spread over several years ?

          Anyone know the answer ?

        • EMHO80 says:

          Yes, it is a lot of money.
          The agreements on the outstanding financial obligations ,which you can find on the EU Commission website, state that the money will be paid out over decades (if I remember correctly, the last payment will be made around 2034).
          Also, this is the net payment the UK will make to EU, projects approved/funded by the EU before Brexit day within the UK will continue to be funded.
          The payments were calculated in €, and the £ payments will depend on exchange rates!
          Here is a link to the EU Commission:

          You can search their website and find Q&A documents, preparedness notices, negotiation points and much more.
          In regard to BOE, I don’t know.

        • EMHO80 says:

          UK government and the EU negotiators arrived at the settlement number.
          The UK government has stated on mutiple occasions on many different media platforms that it owes this money. This is the Net payment, after payment by the EU to projects in the UK, which will be made over decades.
          How you come to a different conclusion than this I don’t understand.
          The EU Commission has on its website all the documention freely available for you to read.
          And I mean everything: Treaties, Agreements, laws, regulations, budgets and budget proposals, etc.
          It is quite the open government, for being the next 4th Reich or is it EUSSR?

      • John Taylor says:

        I hope you’re right on the no postponing past June. I tend to think that the current uncertainty is the biggest killer.

        Even if they have a “no-deal Brexit”, they’ll have a foundation from which to discuss deals peacemeal with the continent, and they can sort things out from there. As long as the form of exit and even the exit itself is entirely uncertain, they’re just stuck at a political impasse which we know neither the UK parliament nor the EU can agree on.

        How can anyone agree to terms that make the split easier when their real goal is to kill the split? Most of the demands of the pro-Brexit groups are seen as non-starters by the pro-EU groups anyways.

    • Peter Mott says:

      It is not possible to say what will happen.

      The EU court has rules that the UK can unilaterally revoke its article 50 notification and return to the EU on its previous terms (i.e revoke Brexit). No EU agreement is required for this.

      The current deal (May’s deal) will transmogrify a bit at the margins though it is not likely to do so in a substantial way. It’s about the withdrawal agreement (WA) – not so much the future relationship which is covered in a merely aspirational short (30 odd page) political statement. The WA is legal and 585 pages long and is what people dislike. So ignore chatter about Norway and Canada++ – that stuff is to be negotiated after Brexit. A recent opinion poll gave may’s Deal just 13% support – down from 15%.

      The No Deal Brexit is just what happens if Parliament does not revoke Brexit and yet refuses to pass May’s deal. It’s automatic – by operation of the Lisbon Treaty.

      There is talk of a second referendum but no-one has yet suggested the question to be put (and I follow this stuff quite closely). It would take at least 154 days to execute a referendum, so extension of March 29 deadline would be required. This must be approved by all 27 members (unanimous consent).

      As I said, lord alone knows what will happen. If it’s No Deal the effect could well be larger than people outside the UK envisage.

    • MooMoo says:

      Its a lot more than that.

      There was no choice on the ballot for “negotiate a deal”. Read the ballot paper. It was very clear. But most MPs want to Remain, which, given the fact that they were (re) elected on the platform of ‘delivering’ Brexit means they wholesale lied to the public. The reason most MPs want to remain is because they know that if the UK is in the EU, they will have further employment and pension opportunities when they lose their constituency seat…….just ask Neil Kinnock and his wife.

      The MPs are whores to Brussels for their own ends and do not represent their constituency. Their duplicity has been revealed and people are about to lose it. The British parliament has been compromised by its own MP, and Brussels is ecstatic about it.

      A constitutional crisis may loom.

      At the risk of irking Wolf… here goes…

    • Covey says:

      People have written off the UK on many occasions, and lived to ask our help in freeing themselves from tyranny.

      As for Brexit, some financial institutions will move, mainly to Frankfurt where they will have the fun of watching the Bundesbank trying to rescue Deutsche Bank around August/Sept this year.

      When the great German Saver wakes up and discovers that the bulk of the €500bn of depositors funds are in reality sitting in the investment banking side of DB and propping up a few Trillion in derivatives, there will be a gallop on the bank which will require the Bundesbank (Bafin aint got the cash!) to create around One Trillion Euros to prop up the bank and avoid a Credit Event being declared on the toxic waste dump of allegedly hedged derivatives.

      • HMG says:

        As it says at the top of the initial article:

        “The stakes are enormous” . I doubt even that James Bond could fund a seat at the UK/EU poker table.

    • MooMoo says:

      “They are clearly wasting time to get to the point that they would have no choice but to postpone it”

      … very true… and yes, someone/group is ‘pulling the strings’. Its not only MP fawning to the EU… which is revolting.

  3. Stuart Brown says:

    If we are going into a global recession, would a rebalancing, however small, of the UK economy away from finance led be a good scenario?

    Put another way. If it all goes bad, will the UK look at the City as a millstone around its neck rather than a golden goose? Seems to me, as a UK citizen, that we are at the epicentre of global financial shenanigans and therefore perhaps have most to lose.

    • Mark says:

      Would a rebalancing of the UK economy away from finance be a good thing for its people? Of course. Unfortunately Brexit is hardly the way to go about it. It is more like cutting off all your arms and legs to get rid of pneumonia. The damage done will be felt by everyone, especially by those already on the margins.

  4. Gold is says:

    The ‘yellow vest’ turmoil in France, far from going away is spreading as people wake up what the globalists/elites are up to, thanks to the free flow of information and sites like this one.

    In a new vote, it’s unlikely that Britain will leave and that may be the tipping point leading to civil unrest & violence, just as is beginning in the USA and some parts of Europe over different issues.

    Never have the left & right been so implacably opposed with no common ground, no reason, just increasing hatred and intolerance.

    Throw in a major financial collapse, decreasing standards of living, the probability of pension & retirement funds going belly-up & a risk of international conflict and we will be living in very ‘interesting times’. It will be a question of survival, at many levels.

    All together now, “Happy days are here again…”

    • MooMoo says:

      “The ‘yellow vest’ turmoil in France, far from going away is spreading as people wake up what the globalists/elites are up to, thanks to the free flow of information and sites like this one.”

      I mentioned this the other day here and was fobbed off – told the French do this all the time. It is not true.

      The Ministry of Finance was broken into, and two officials had to abandon their posts out the back door. Holed up in hotel. Macron had an actual helicopter at the Palace to spirit him away in case the crowd spilled out of control. THAT is not standard procedure.

      This is NOT a typical French protest. It is a tax revolt and it is going global.

      • Wolf Richter says:


        Protestors and strikers in France routinely break into facilities and take hostages, such as CEOs or plant managers etc. This has been happening for years. They use those hostages to negotiate with the state or with the company. Law enforcement rarely cracks down on these hostage takers in a serious way. I used to write about this stuff but got bored with it.

        I also used to live in France and Belgium and was able to see this from a front-row seat. Just get used to it.

        • MooMoo says:

          I am fully aware of this, and have lived in France as well. This is not trade union thuggery or truckers in a single local. This is a mass movement from north to South. When they awake to the fact that the country has no more ability to run its generous benefits system without moving taxes to 90% then the game will be on. This is just the warm up.

          Like I said. You thin this is “France as usual”.

          I say it is not. And the international metastisizing of the movement proves this.

        • Covey says:

          You do have to admire the French farmers when they have a hissy fit. A couple of dozen tractors pulling muck spreaders down the Champs Elysees and the Government caves!!

          Direct Action does have its uses and saves a lot of hot air around a conference table.

        • Atu says:

          Agree with Moomoo here, not saying you should be covering it though. The protests are decades of pent up, with a ******etc. in power and no out avenue available. It is not left/right, nationalist/liberal, it is deep seated discontent, they are going for a headshot, and for all I know are purposefully goaded to. So not just the french being french, but who knows what now.

  5. Eric says:

    Brexit will be painful at first. With the restrictions and regulations of the EU off the UK it will allow for a great deal of flexibility. If the UK does well outside of the EU it could encourage other countries to leave the EU. That would more then likely force the EU to rethink their strategies going forward.

  6. Patrick says:

    Am I mistaken in thinking that the likely outcome is May will simply renew EU membership while claiming it’s only that they ”need more time to leave properly”? Kicking the can is the only thing governments are capable of…How’s this any different? At the end if the day May knows she can turn the water hoses on revolting Brits; not so much on MEPs.

    • MooMoo says:

      ” At the end if the day May knows she can turn the water hoses on revolting Brits”

      This is what makes the UK slightly different from other European nations. If she does that… or any MP… the game is over. Everyone will abandon the government and there will be mass MP resignations and Magistrates courts will shut. Think Poll Tax x 10.

      As Peter Hitchens has stated, the UK appears to be in a pre civil war condition. Now, civil war doesn;t happen much in England… but maybe that’s why its overdue.

      … we live in interesting times.

    • Covey says:

      The likely event is that next week after May’s Deal has been consigned to history, and her rebel MP’s have created more havoc, TM will call a General Election, having first asked the Tory Constituency Parties to deselect those MP’s who feel that voting against Manifesto Policy and voting against the Finance Act is acceptable.

      Labour say they want a General Election, so call their bluff and watch whilst many of Labours EU supporting MP’s in the North face their 65-70% Brexit majority electorate.

      The electorate know TM has been backed in to a corner by her rebels who also forget that 410 MP’s who have publicly voted for Remain, have a majority in their constituency who voted Leave.

      When the tide goes out, you can see who is not wearing shorts!!

  7. Rob says:

    it will be a big nothing like Y2K

    • fajensen says:

      The Y2K was “nothing” because of preparation. I was one of the many thousands of engineers testing, patching and verifying the software for critical infrastructure for 2 years before Y2K. It was good money too.

      Brexit, whatever “flavour” it becomes, will predictably go to shit because more or less Zero actual effort* was made in preparing for it on the UK side, having the side-effect of leaving the EU side with all the good cards!

      *) Well, Except for blowing millions on a ferry company with no ships, no harbour access, a ripped off homepage from a pizza joint but with solid Tory-sponsor connections. That is indeed all what the government of the “5’th largest economy” could manage in ways of preparedness!

      Why the hell this pathetic situation does not strike pure fear of The Angry Lord into people, I don’t know.

      • EMHO80 says:

        Fajensen, you are correct again.
        The EU, regardless of its many faults, is rather well prepared and so are it’s member states. It has released a long list of Notices to Stakeholders that are freely available.
        These Notices, unlike UK’s technical notices, are well researched and detailed, hence helpful for governments, businesses and individuals.
        Nonetheless, even the best preparation is insufficient for the chaos and shock of a no-deal Brexit, but at least the EU and it’s member states have a chance to weather this storm and emerge with only limited damage.
        Here is a link to the EU Commission website:

        • EMHO80 says:

          Those that are interested in a deeper understanding of Brexit should visit and read the blogposts of Dr Richard North.
          He is exceptionally well informed on EU/UK matters, and hence a rarity on the UK side.
          He is also a former UKIP member and a rational Leaver.

    • MB732 says:

      Rob I was thinking the same thing. Don presents great stuff always, but on Brexit I have a hard time believing that the most powerful institutions on the planet (financials) will have difficulty working around some different regulations.

      I’ve long ago abandoned the idea that what’s “right or wrong”, or “best for the people” is ever a genuine concern in such matters, and I don’t know on this one who the competing interests really are…

      • Peter Mott says:

        “the most powerful institutions on the planet (financials) will have difficulty working around some different regulations”. Well they had problems in 2008 :-)

        • MB732 says:

          My recollection is that most of them “worked around” those problems in 2008, and that what was “right or wrong” or “best for the people” was never a consideration ;-]

  8. MD says:

    £8 trillion in assets, despite receiving massive handouts in the form of QE and the people of the UK being told they need to put up with lower-quality services in the form of ‘austerity’ because the books need to be balanced.

    Merely one of many shining examples of the dismal social failure of neoliberal economics and its trickle-up effect and ‘socialism for the wealthy’.

  9. MD says:

    Nobody’ ‘pulling any strings’ from the NWO, Rothschilds, Illuminati, Zionists or any other group, despite what your equally deluded and clinically depressed chums on The Internet may be saying and posting on YouTube as ‘the truth’.

    It’s an unfortunate situation where people have voted and the mess that has resulted is being negotiated between two parties trying to get the best result for themselves.

  10. Caliban says:

    “But the clock continues to tick down, and as the risk of a disorderly exit grows, inaction is becoming a risky strategy.”

    Why is that? All these Brexit stories sounds like standard fear mongering (e.g., Y2K, 2012, Anthropogenic Global Warming or is it now Cooling?). Until explicitly told otherwise by the relevant governmental authorities everyone should just carry on with business as usual. Let the government throw a monkey wrench into everything if that’s their fondest desire. Of course, I’m probably expecting too much from people. As usual.

  11. KGC says:

    Everything I read indicates the EU is better prepared for BREXIT than the UK. If I were a betting man I’d expect that the EU would have already told London that the only way they can come back would be as a “full” partner without the special arrangement they’ve had since they joined. I can’t see the UK giving up either the sovereignty or the pound that would require.

    What really interests me is how little the Royals have been publicly involved in this whole mess. Weddings and public spectacles seem to be more in their power than actual governance.

    • jon laughing says:

      You forget dear sir, that the PM Theresa May is the queenie’s prime minister. Dear little Ms. May forms the head of HerGovernnment. Me thinks it’s much better for tourism, soap operas and the tabloids if the royalty types stick with weddings, photo ops, and opening strip malls. That’s really what they are qualified to do best. Plus if they did get more involved even the slowest witted would see that the pretence of real democracy had been breached. Tally Ho.

    • HMG says:

      Just had a look at the linked article referred to by MooMoo

      It makes a lot of sense and explains what has happened behind closed doors.

      I too think we have been hoodwinked and it should be Leave or Remain. The 585 page deal needs to be dumped not fine tuned.

      PS what do you think the occupant of Buckingham Palace might be thinking ? Is this unprecedented decision we are facing perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for her to find a way to let her thoughts be known ?

  12. Ed Kennedy says:

    I don’t think a “no deal” exit will be as devastating to London’s financial industry as many have claimed. There is a critical mass of people with the knowledge and experience needed in London, which cannot be easily replicated elsewhere. The bankers in London DO NOT WANT their knowledge and experience replicated elsewhere since that would cause a reduction in their wealth and influence.
    What I expect is that the money will be held in accounts in a EU subsidiary, the control of the money will remain firmly in London’s control, with appropriate, or more likely extravagant fees being extracted and sent to the London bankers in a form which produces the lowest possible taxes.

    • MooMoo says:

      The EU’s share of the global economy is shrinking every day… and will continue to do so for the next 200 years. .. or more.

      Politically the EU is imploding.

      Why anyone would want to be a part of it is beyond me.

      (p.s. – “trade” as everyone rants about is a small portion of the nations economy. Internal demand and international capital flows from USA and China are far more important)

  13. At the bottom you said May 29 was crashout day? Is that a typo?

  14. jon laughing says:

    What becomes more and more clear with every passing day is how incompetent the UK government is. Two and a half years later and they still haven’t figured out how they want to even begin to manage their future. And what is even more surprising is that the wonderful praised and the best and the brightest of the financial world scammers, fraudsters and players can’t even see their way to provide an alternate plan for their businesses. And some people claim that we need more business people to run the government! The irony of it all.

  15. Jubber says:

    The European Banks can’t take the lead here as their ratings are so bad that most of them are not allowed on Bond Deals, the real money behind everything .All the large Banks based in London will as pointed out just deal in the name of a European branch or sub. What most people also forget is that London is also the legal centre of the Corporate Finance world in Europe with all the top firms also present.

  16. Jim McCollum says:

    Most of the comments about Brexit are speculations base on personal rather than informed opinions. In that vein, I will offer my own. My expectation is that five years after Brexit, Britain will be in a much better economic position that the remainder of the EU. The authoritarianism shown by Brussels, the cluelessness of the European Central Bank, and the “we welcome the world” attitude on the migration issue by the current German, Spanish and other govts will ensure a collapse of the euro as a monetary unit and steady stream of “Exits” by other members of the “Union.” It will not be pretty!

    • I agree with you, in a global recession or worse Brexit will have some benefits, but isn’t it kind of cheap of the Brits, yes we like the EU while everything is rosy, now things look worse we want out?

      • Jim McCollum says:

        The Europeans thought they could build a transnational entity on the cheap thru a monetary union. If they could have consolidated all the national debts at the time of the change over to the euro, and convinced applicants/members to give up more sovereignty and control, it might have worked. The failure in that regard made the failure of the euro experiment a foregone conclusion. The euro is a dead end, global recession or not, as authoritarianism in Brussels grows.

        • safe as milk says:

          ” If they could have consolidated all the national debts at the time of the change over to the euro, and convinced applicants/members to give up more sovereignty and control, it might have worked.”

          this is why the whole thing was doomed from the beginning. only politicians could have been stupid enough to set it up this way.

        • HMG says:

          Still time to consolidate the National Debts ?

          Who knows what schemes have been secretly thought out should the Euro start to crumble ?

          Papers arrived this week from a Frenck Bank that has taken over part of Barclays France.

          It explains in detail how the €100,000 ‘Government’ guarantee applies to their depositors.

          Nice to know my Euros are 100% protected by someone.

        • Cynic says:

          A (very) wealthy person of my acquaintance confidently expects the euro to crumble before sterling, and holds no euros at all.

          We shall see……fun, isn’t it?

      • Cynic says:

        The Brexit vote, was just as much about mass immigration and the Muslim question (afflicting all of Western Europe) as it was about sovereignty and loss of prosperity.

        However, the irony is that this immigration level was entirely planned by successive UK governments, not the EU.

        Emotional voters are not very rational.

        • char says:

          You mean the Eastern European question. That is the mass immigration that people have seen happening in the last 15 years. And they are much harder to send back.

  17. OldCodger says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that the PM does not want ANY sort of ‘Brexit’.
    What PMs say and what they want and do are often 2 very different things.

    • HMG says:

      Same applies to the leader of the Opposition ?

    • HMG says:

      I doubt anyone will read this late post but here goes.

      D Day will arrive soon.

      Many years ago one Sunday morning an early edition of a Sunday paper, Sunday Times I think , had the headline

      “Diana injured, Dodi dead”. It proved sadly to be incorrect but that’s another story.

      My prediction now is it won’t be long before one morning we will read. “The Day Democracy Died”.

      The whole Brexit issue could turn out to be the landmark issue that proves to the people, the man or woman in the street, that present day politics has come off the rails.

  18. ollie says:

    This article’s author appears to be unaware that the city of London is a separate entity to the united kingdom and controls more than half the world’s financial affairs via British colonies such as the Cayman Islands (5th largest financial centre on planet).
    This has nothing to do with the man on the street in the UK, but is of immense importance to our ruling oligarchs and their flows of money globally.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You’re mistaken. The author has published several articles on the independence of the City of London Corporation. You just didn’t read them. Regular readers are fully aware of the status of the City of London. But an author cannot rehash something like this in every article. He’d sound like a broker record. Here are just a couple of articles, where the author (Don Quijones) discussed the City of London Corporation and its special status:

    • Cynic says:

      If you have a goose which lays golden eggs, you don’t throttle it with a collar.

      Yes, the City is special – in some respects – for good reason.

      That it has led to the down-grading of manufacturing in the UK below a sensible level -half the EU average – is another matter, of course.

      But idiot unions also had a hand in that process: better speculation than dealing with class warriors of 1900 – see the 1970’s, when the Labour PM , Callaghan, said he wanted to emigrate to escape the unions!

      It also makes Britain a key global hub which no one would really like to see go down:-no small consideration for a resource-depleted, vastly over-populated island,with no other obvious purpose and direction, and a lazy, increasingly oafish population (as, it must be said, in most of Western Europe).

      • char says:

        Thatcher destroyed the unions by 1985 but the crash in manufacturing happened later. It is also can’t be called resource depleted (North Sea Oil, coal before that and North Sea wind in the future)

        Outside the City who doesn’t want to see the banks go down? And Britain has pillage half the world. Don’t think Jamaica, Kenya, India, China, etc. would weep one tear about a Britain that is broke.

  19. Cashboy says:

    As a UK citizen, I am very diappointed with the way the UK government has handled the Brexit situation since the referendum result.

    As a result I have decided that the UK and the EC is not a place to be in business and have already wound down my business with no intentions of investing a penny (cent) in anything in the UK or the EC.

    I have already moved 35% of my capital to Thailand in the last 18 months. I have the intention of increasing this to 90% within the next two years that means selling my UK home and some freehold property I have.

    I shall only stay on paper resident in the UK to get the state pension and state health cover which I paid substantial amounts in the way of UK taxes.

    The UK and EC zone has gone down hill fast over the last 10 years.
    They have become overpopulated with immigration (the wrong type) that has had negative social effect (crime), increased rent, put constraints on the infrastructure and created large government debt.

    The EC has no natural resources, is overpopulated and therefore in my opinion has no future.

    Most of my middle aged business friends and clients believe the same and if financialy able to have been retiring earlier and leaving the UK .and EC zone.

    • char says:

      Counties without natural resources and a high population density have obvious no future. See Japan, in 1950 it was a poor place and it still is. Or Korea, very poor in 1950 and still very poor. Thankfully there are countries with low population and a lot of resources and they do great. Like Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia or Congo.

      ps. Thailand has a high population density and not a lot of resources so should do okay even with its crappy rulers. And people who retire go to cheap places with nice weather. Spain isn’t cheap and the rest of Europe doesn’t have nice weather. UK will obviously be a disaster

  20. R Davis says:

    “many companies have preferred to play the waiting game”

    & these companies may be the only sanity in this sordid fiasco.
    Knee Jerk seems to be the way the genius mind of the EU leadership & banking industry have chosen to play the introduction of the euro, in & since 1999.
    Is it some form of dance – an alternative polka maybe – a form of stress relief even ??

    To my mind, no one knows what will happen so sit tight – who knows how well the pickings could be after the gang bang.

    • HMG says:

      It’s Game Over for one side or the other this afternoon.

      • HMG says:

        Game over for May then ?

        It will only take a dozen Conservative MP’s to abstain on Wednesday evening and they will have the power to change the direction of the Tory Government.

        Only 20 hours to get a small group organised and the power matrix shifts dramatically

        • HMG says:

          Just read this morning’s papers.

          The Daily Telegraph headline states that The Chancellor has reassured business chiefs that MP’s will prevent a no-deal outcome.

          Can someone please remind me which political party he belongs to ? Isn’t that what Mr Corbyn is insisting upon ? If he is aligned with Mr C perhaps he should walk across and sit on the opposite side of Parlaiment to the Prime Minister.

          For months and months he has said nothing. Sits often next to Mrs May mouthing at the Opposition and wagging his finger but , so far as I can recall never gets up to speak. Why is he putting his head above the parapet today in this unhelpful way ?

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