UK Tones Down ‘Big Bang’ Finance Plan to Avoid Backlash

(Bloomberg) — The UK government will move away from talking about a “Big Bang 2” for the City of London, in part a recognition of the fact that changes will be gradual due to their complexity and opposition from critics.

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Ministers are expected to stop using the phrase, a reference to dramatic reforms in the 1980s that made London a global financial center, according to a person familiar with the matter. The shift reflects a wish to build support among a broad range of stakeholders and to position growth in financial services as an opportunity for the wider country.

There has also been a realization that the scope for speedy change is limited, several people involved in the discussions said.

Andrew Griffith, the City Minister, will unveil a relatively muted package of post-Brexit reforms on Friday to boost the UK’s financial services industry. The changes include relaxing ring-fencing capital rules to lighten the burden on smaller banks.

Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is also due to meet finance executives in Edinburgh to discuss opportunities for the sector.

The government’s plans may include reversing the EU MiFID II ban on banks bundling the costs of company research with other fees, deregulation of trading rules to boost flexibility for investors and a watering down responsibilities for senior managers and firms over consumer protections, according to people who have been involved in the discussions.

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