Now Spain prepares to lure UK financial firms post-Brexit

Another European country has let it be known that it would welcome UK financial services businesses that are interested in relocating to Europe after Britain leaves the European Union: Spain. 

In a statement, the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), Spain’s financial services regulator, said on Monday that it was looking to ensure that Spain was  “the most appealing option for investment firms considering a move from the UK to another EU country”.

The CNMV said it will implement a package of measures aimed at making such firms choose Spain ahead of any other EU country, in order to benefit from EU passporting.

Companies considering relocating to Spain are generally thought most likely to consider the capital city of Madrid, which is the country’s main financial centre, home of its stock market – the Bolsas y Mercados Españoles  – and the headquarters of most of Spain’s major companies.

Among the other European cities that have thrown their hats into the post-Brexit relocation ring thus far,with backing from their respective national governments, have been Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin.

Nevertheless, Spanish officials are convinced they can compete with their northern European rivals, with a package of incentives they say are designed to “facilitate and guide”  UK companies through the relocation process, and then provide them with a “sensible and sound” supervisory environment.

Other features of the CNMV’s plan include a “single contact point” for applicants; a fast-track authorisation process; and English-speaking coaches to “to help applicants understand the applicable Spanish regulations and laws”.

The Spanish financial regulator will also accept all relevant documentation presented in English, without the need of any translation, the CNMV said, and it noted that the straight-forward authorisation process for UK-based firms that are willing to relocate their business to Spain will also include standardised application forms, the possibility of electronic submission of documents, and “advanced” internal models capabilities.

“Some entities have already expressed interest in using or continuing to use internal models for the determination of capital needs to cover counter-party and market risks,” the financial regulator said, in its three-page statement.

Not mentioned in Monday’s CNMV statement, but occasionally mentioned by other enthusiasts of the Madrid Option post-Brexit, are the city’s reported 2,600 hours of sunshine every year.

The most recent Global Financial Centres Index,  published every six months since 2007 by London-based Zyen Group Ltd, ranks Madrid in 68th place out of 87, just below Monaco, and three below the Isle of Man. Of the major European centres, Frankfurt scores the highest, in 19th place; Paris ranks 29th and Dublin 31st.

The CNMV said it had created a “specific Brexit mailbox” to answer questions UK institutions might have about relocating. The address is: welcome@cnmv.es.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is the editor of International Investment. A US-trained journalist, she has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering everything from the fashion and retailing industries to the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

Read more from Helen Burggraf

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