In our Update of January 28, 2020, we discussed the key aspects of the Brexit implementation period relevant to the payments sector and possible scenarios following its expiration on December 31, 2020. Following the conclusion of negotiations between the UK and the EU, the two parties entered into the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which governs the future relationship between the UK and the EU. The TCA entered into effect on January 1, 2021.
As expected, the TCA does not provide any form of preferential market access for financial services firms. However, it does require that the EU and the UK grant firms reciprocal access to their publicly operated payment and clearing systems.
The TCA also contains a joint declaration on financial services, which states that the EU and the UK agree to establish “structured regulatory cooperation on financial services, with the aim of establishing a durable and stable relationship between autonomous jurisdictions” (Declaration). The Declaration also notes that the EU and the UK plan to agree a memorandum of understanding establishing the framework for such cooperation by March 2021. However, the Declaration does not provide any binding agreement for the EU and the UK to continue to align on financial services regulation or to provide any form of preferential market access to firms established in the other’s territory.
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