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EU directives will pull down barriers to UK businesses

The UK financial services sector will benefit from the introduction of a number of European Union initiatives aimed at reducing regulation, says Tory MEP Theresa Villiers.

Villiers, a member of the EU economic and monetary affairs committee in Brussels, says regulation is a major barrier to the UK industry expanding on the Continent.

She believes three EU directives working their way through the legislative process will go a long way to create a free market for financial services.

The pensions directive will relax restrictions on levels of equities held in pension funds, opening the door to the UK pension industry gaining a foothold in Europe. This is because UK companies are seen as more advanced than their European counterparts.

The insurance intermediaries directive is expected to boost the UK insurance industry&#39s business in Europe.

The investment services directive is already on the books but is being updated. Proposed changes will allow fund managers to seek clients in other jurisdictions.

Villiers says: “There have been a number of directives which supposedly opened up competition in domestic markets to pan-European competition but the reality is they have not delivered. Regulation is needed in financial services to benefit both business and the consumer but it has got to the point where it is becoming an over-regulated market.”

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