City workers make their way home past the Bank of England in the City of London
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's regulators should put more emphasis on keeping banks globally competitive after Brexit, the City of London financial district's policy chief said on Thursday.
Catherine McGuinness said Britain would have to look at how it regulates banks, insurers and asset managers after it leaves the European Union in March 2019.
She said in a speech that Britain's regulators would face a "gear shift" after Brexit and would need the right resources and powers. They would also need "to consider whether we need to look again at focussing on the competitiveness of the sector."
The Bank of England has ruled out a post-Brexit return to the tarnished "light touch" era before the 2007-2009 financial crisis, but bankers and some pro-Brexit members of parliament want more flexibility in how rules are applied.
"The global financial services industry is more competitive than ever before. Losing the slightest edge can be significant. That is why it is vital that we get Brexit right," she said.
In the meantime, she said the government should reach speedy agreement over its divorce bill with the EU in order to open talks about transition and a future trade agreement.
The cost of leaving the EU without a trade deal in place was likely to dwarf any bill, she said.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Edmund Blair)