London – The British pound has been buoyed amid reports that a tentative deal had been reached to give British financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit.
The British government’s Brexit department said talks were still continuing.
“While we continue to make good progress agreeing new arrangements for financial services, negotiations are ongoing and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” it said.
Earlier, The Times reported that British and EU negotiators had reached a tentative deal on financial services.
Under the deal, British firms would have access to European markets as long as British financial regulation was broadly in line with Europe’s, the daily said.
In Brussels, a European Commission spokesman declined to comment on The Times report, reiterating the aim to ensure Britain has an “orderly exit” from the EU.
There was no immediate word of when the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier would next meet Britain’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
In addition to partnership on services, the tentative deal covers the exchange of data, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed British government sources.
The sides also agreed that market access would not be denied unilaterally without undergoing independent arbitration in case of a dispute and after a longer period of consultation than the current 30-day period, the report said.
London’s role as a leading financial hub is expected to be reduced when Britain leaves the bloc next year.
Thomas Moore, investment director of UK equities at Aberdeen Standard Investments, welcomed the news.
He told the BBC’s Today programme that the granting of equivalence, “produces much greater certainty, not just for financial companies.”