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Fund managers to make no-deal Brexit plans within 15 weeks

Fund managers have just 15 weeks to activate their no-deal Brexit contingency plans, the Investment Association has warned.

Speaking at the IA Annual Policy Conference today, chief executive Chris Cummings says despite there being 40 weeks until Brexit, for fund managers the deadline is a lot closer.

Cummings says: “We did declare from the outset that the longer firms have to wait for legal certainty on the transition period the less valuable that certainty becomes.

He adds: “For firms requiring a minimum of five to six months to restructure their operation there are perhaps only 15 weeks remaining before which they will have to activate their no-deal contingency plans.”

While Cummings appreciates the difficulty the government faces during Brexit negotiations he says “time is running short” for a deal to be struck.

Fund houses slow to unveil Brexit contingency plans

He says: “So while we are pragmatic, we do need to see real evidence of political progress at the upcoming European Council meeting to give greater confidence to firms who want to continue to base their operations and their personnel in the UK.

“All of this must be underpinned by a series of regulatory cooperation agreements that need to be signed. Otherwise contract continuity will escape us and data may simply evaporate.”

In May, Legal and General Investment Management was given regulatory approval for a new business unit in Dublin as part of a plan to shift part of its operations ahead of Brexit.

Other fund houses, including Columbia Threadneedle and M&G, have made moves to shift EU customer assets from UK Oeic ranges to equivalent funds in Luxembourg Sicav ranges.

Also speaking at the event, Legal & General Investment Management personal investing head Helena Morrissey says the asset management sector needs to capitalise on its innovative services to open up future trade opportunities once Brexit happens.

Morrissey says: “I am not glossing over the technical in ensuring we have open access to Europe, but we do need to make sure that we are reinforcing what we are good at.”

She adds: “The EU is not going to want to give us special privileges. We need to work bilaterally with our counterparts who want access to Britain. the most important thing is to play the offence game.”

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