UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s assertion earlier this week that Brexit could trigger a ‘Big Bang 2.0 ‘ for the City of London almost immediately came under challenge as Polish e-commerce group InPost announced that it had decided to launch its IPO on Euronext, Amsterdam’s answer to London’s Square Mile.
On Monday, Sunak told MPs that Brexit would help ‘reinforce the UK’s position as a globally pre-eminent financial centre’, despite a looming regulatory stand-off with Brussels. Earlier that day, he had used an interview with City AM to urge the country’s bankers and traders to prepare for a surge in business comparable to the Big Bang that followed Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the country’s financial services sector in the 1980s.
On the evidence so far, there may be more than a touch of wishful thinking behind Sunak’s assurance. Within 24 hours of the UK financial services ‘hard’ break with the rest of the EU coming into force on January 1, some $7bn of daily trading in EU stocks left London for markets across the English Channel. One of the chief beneficiaries was Euronext, which several bankers believe is already showing potential to eat into London’s pre-eminence as a European capital markets centre.
If they are right, then confirmation that InPost’s backers, the global private equity firm Advent International, had chosen the Dutch exchange for its IPO suggests that more privately-owned companies looking to raise funds from the capital markets might also choose Euronext or one of several other exchanges on mainland Europe. “Looking at the options and the stock markets, Amsterdam looks very attractive because it seems that now that Euronext Amsterdam is becoming a kind of preferred tech companies listing stock exchange,” said Rafal Brzoska, CEO of the Polish e-commerce enablement platform which, ironically, has recently been increasing its presence in the UK.