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Brexit: keep calm and carry on

27 June 2016

The UK’s financial regulators, professional accountancy bodies and the Bank of England have all stated that it will be ‘business as usual’ until the Brexit process begins in earnest later this year.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is working closely with the Treasury and the Bank of England, is keeping a close eye on developments in the financial sector.

The FCA issued a statement saying: “Much financial regulation currently applicable in the UK derives from EU legislation. This regulation will remain applicable until any changes are made, which will be a matter for government and parliament.

“Firms must continue to abide by their obligations under UK law, including those derived from EU law and continue with implementation plans for legislation that is still to come into effect.

“Consumers’ rights and protections, including any derived from EU legislation, are unaffected by the result of the referendum and will remain unchanged unless and until the government changes the applicable legislation.”

ACCA CEO Helen Brand has reassured members and students that despite the uncertainty, it is business as usual for the global body: “ACCA recognises that there is now a period of uncertainty while the full implications of the Brexit result are worked through and understood.
“However, I can reassure our members, affiliates and students in the UK, Europe and around the world that there is no reason to anticipate any change to the global recognition and portability of the ACCA qualification.
“As with any period of change and uncertainty, professional accountants will play a critical and strategic role in bringing much needed stability to business and society. As always, we are ready to support our members and students as they carry out this vital function going forward.
“It is clear that over the coming weeks and months we will see changes to the UK’s relationship with Europe, and indeed the rest of the world. We are committed to ensuring our members and students are up to date on all the key developments as they occur.”

However, the longer term impacts of the decision to leave the EU on the overall regulatory framework for the UK remains unclear.

Options for the UK include joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), remaining a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), or negotiating bilateral agreements with the EU to create a new UK-EU relationship.

In a statement the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said: ‘Stakeholders have asked about the implications of the referendum result for our regulatory work. Our regulatory framework is unchanged and we will continue to apply it. The FRC will also continue to play its part in representing the interests of the UK internationally.

“We will pay close attention to the decisions now taken by the government and Parliament, and continue to work in collaboration with our key stakeholders, particularly investors, business and the professionals we regulate, in order to ensure our work continues to support economic growth.”

ICAEW CEO Michael Izza commented: “The negotiation process has the potential to create instability for businesses and the profession as we seek to understand what the new economic and legislative landscape will look like for the UK.

“There will be lots of questions over the coming weeks and months and I see ICAEW’s role as being there to help explain what’s going on, to provide support and guidance for our members, their businesses and their clients as we get greater clarity on the implications of leaving the EU.”

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