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Financial services firms expecting a hard Brexit, survey shows

A survey by the Prepaid International Forum (PIF), found unease among fintech and incumbents alike.

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More than one in two [58 per cent] financial services and fintech businesses in the prepaid card market are expecting a hard Brexit, according to a new survey, which also suggested industry leaders expect this to negatively impact their business.

The survey by the Prepaid International Forum (PIF), the not-for-profit trade body representing the prepaid financial services sector, includes input from 60 per cent of its UK members. Members include the smaller disruptors including the likes of Glint as well as incumbents such as Mastercard.

A large majority expect Brexit to be bad for their business (81 per cent) and three quarters admitted that they are already looking at moving at least part of their operations out of the UK in order to minimise its negative impact.

A further two thirds [66] also believe this will diminish financial sector access to EU markets and adversely affect their businesses via curtailment of 'financial passport' rights. 

Of course this only represents one area of the fintech universe with some , such as Karen Mills, a former adviser to ex-US president Barack Obama, offering a more bullish forecast.

Alastair Graham, spokesperson for PIF, says following the Brexit vote, there was a general belief that access to financial services between the UK and EU would remain open to the mutual benefit of both sides.

“However, as the negotiations have continued, this optimism has faded considerably. To the extent that now most are expecting and planning for the worst possible outcome for financial businesses,” he said.

Ireland looks to be the most likely beneficiary for jobs and income exiting the UK, with 30 per cent of leaders surveyed saying this would be the most likely country where they will relocate all or some of their operations.

Graham adds that the UK is the centre the EU’s innovation and growth for the fintech sector.

“The lack of clear signals from either side in the negotiation has seen optimism fade and companies are now actively preparing for the worst."

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