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New geographies of European financial competition? Frankfurt, Paris and the political economy of Brexit

Lavery, Scott and McDaniel, Sean and Schmid, Davide (2018) New geographies of European financial competition? Frankfurt, Paris and the political economy of Brexit. Geoforum, 94. pp. 72-81. ISSN 0016-7185

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Abstract

The UK’s exit from the EU is unlikely to challenge the City of London’s position as Europe’s leading international financial centre (IFC). However, Brexit does create opportunities for alternative financial centres located inside the remaining EU member states. In this article, we assess the strategic positioning of private and public actors within two European IFCs - Frankfurt and Paris - in the period following the Brexit vote. Agents within these centres are seeking to differentially benefit from Brexit in two distinct ways: by mobilising to attract ‘low hanging fruit’ – vulnerable financial sub-sectors – away from the City and by utilising Brexit as a ‘bargaining chip’ to leverage domestic and European regulatory reforms. In light of these findings we argue that existing approaches to financial centre relations - in particular ‘Globalisation and World Cities’ research - should engage with the ways in which political actors shape European financial relations. Whilst private actors inside financial ‘networks’ may agitate for continued ‘cooperation’ and regulatory convergence after Brexit, new competitive orientations are also in evidence as political actors seek to privilege their territories relative to rival spaces.

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