The deepening uncertainty over how Britain will exit the European Union has not dented foreign investors’ interest in the City of London, the financial district’s policy chief said Thursday.
“People are concerned with the Brexit situation, the ongoing uncertainty,” Catherine McGuinness of the City of London Corporation told AFP in Cannes, southern France.
“But there’s still interest in the city and we expected that, because even if some functions will have to move, this is only a small part of what happens in the City in financial services,” she said.
McGuinness was in Cannes for the annual MIPIM international property market conference, where she said she had met with investors and developers as well as officials from Paris and other major cities.
“Here I’ve just sensed… frustration,” she said, acknowledging that the Brexit uncertainty “does mean that investment decisions take longer.”
Earlier this year McGuinness estimated that anywhere from 3,000 to 12,000 jobs could be moved from Britain by March 29, when Britain is supposed to officially leave the EU — with a withdrawal deal in place or not.
British lawmakers are to vote Thursday on whether to seek a delay for the exit, hoping to avoid a “no deal” scenario that many business executives fear could herald severe economic disruptions.
“Maybe the risk is going down, but it’s still a possibility,” McGuinness said.
“We all need to be careful because it could be seriously damaging.”