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BREXIT: French authorities to accept English-language applications from UK financial services firms

France's financial regulators have said they will simplify their licensing procedures and accept English language applications as they try to attract UK firms to France.30 Sep 2016

France's financial regulator, the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de resolution and financial markets authority, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers will simplify the process for registering companies "in the context of BREXIT", they said.

"The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union may have consequences for institutions based in the UK which use the passport mechanism to carry out all or part of their activities in other EU countries under the freedom to provide services or under the right of establishment," they said.

If institutions want to set up in France rather than operating from the UK, and their activities are already supervised by the UK authorities, they will be able to supply the relevant documents in English, the regulatory bodies said.

An English-speaking contact person will be also available to help with the "smooth processing of the application" they said.

Passporting arrangements enable firms based in one EU member state to trade anywhere in the bloc without having to seek multiple authorisations. The UK's financial services industry has made it clear that its preferred option as part of the Brexit process would be for the UK to seek access to the single market, and to continue to benefit from passporting rights.

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority said last week that almost five and a half thousand UK financial firms currently rely on at least one regulatory 'passport', allowing them to market and sell their products throughout the European Economic Area.

A further 8,000 firms based in the EU or EEA have been granted passports to market and sell their products in the UK according to the figures, which were supplied by the FCA following a request by the Treasury Select Committee (7-page / 308KB PDF).

However, a report by ratings agency Moody's said that most UK and EEA firms would find the loss of passporting rights following the UK's formal withdrawal from the EU to be "manageable".