Saturday 16 December 2017

Regulation is becoming oppressive and risks stifling innovation - mayor

Alan Yarrow
Alan Yarrow
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The level of financial services regulation is becoming oppressive and risks stifling innovation, the Lord Mayor of the City of London has said.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Alan Yarrow suggested the high cost of regulation was a barrier for many smaller companies.

"You need a strong central government to pump in common sense when things are looking slightly euphoric, you need a relevant level of regulation," Mr Yarrow said.

"I can't say at the moment where that regulation is, but I feel the level of regulation now is becoming oppressive and it's in danger of actually stifling innovation.

"You have to be big to afford the compliance cost and that in itself means that competition by definition starts to deteriorate."

The Lord Mayor is elected annually as head of the City of London Corporation.

The role supports and promotes the UK's financial and professional services and the City of London as a place to do business and is different to the directly elected Mayor of London role, held by Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson leads the Greater London Authority (GLA) and is responsible for the strategic governance of Greater London.

Along with the London Assembly of 25 members, Mr Johnson is accountable for pan-London issues, such as transport, economic development, policing, civil defence and fire services, and planning.

Mr Yarrow also flagged up concerns of the City of London towards a possible UK exit from Europe, saying that both parties would be worse off.

"If it did happen, would we survive, yes we would," he said. But the point is that both Europe and the UK would be worse off, it's lose-lose.

"However awkward the UK is in Europe, the fact is people understand the commercial logic in what we're trying to promote.

"If that was taken out of the change mechanism of regulation in Europe, I think the international interpretation would be that it would be bad for Europe, because it would slip back into its sclerotic ways," he said.

Mr Yarrow also expressed the concern of many in Britain towards the proposed Financial Transactions Tax.

Full interview, Page 5

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