Brexit: City’s top man says firms grew ‘complacent’ prior to split from EU

Brexit: City’s top man says firms grew ‘complacent’ prior to split from EU

The Lord Mayor Nicholas Lyons at the Lord Mayor’s Show last year

The Lord Mayor has said British businesses got “complacent” prior to Brexit – and will now need to work harder to develop relationships across the world.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald ahead of a trip to Australia this week, Nicholas Lyons said there would need to be an “enormous step up from this government and the City” to push into global markets.

Lyons said “nothing good has been delivered” so far post-Brexit but that he believed there are reasons to be positive about regulatory changes currently in train.

“That, I think, will be positive for London. We’re very much open for business.”

The Lord Mayor has previously been a cheerleader for changes to Solvency II capital requirements, informed by his time as chair of Phoenix.

Lyons will visit with a host of Australian dignitaries and state governments during a whistle-stop trip down under, which starts in Brisbane tomorrow.

He is keen for the UK to strengthen relationships after Brexit.

“One of the things about being in Europe was that British businesses generally got complacent because they had access to this huge market on their doorstep,” he told the SMH.

“They didn’t work hard enough to push hard on Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Asia and other markets in the gulf.”


However the Lord Mayor was keen to put to bed the idea that the Square Mile has suffered significantly from Brexit, with only 7,000 jobs moving to other European financial centres.

“Each of those financial centres has something that they’re good at, but nobody can compete with the depth and breadth of what we do, even in post-Brexit London.”

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