The four big banks are raising their concerns about Brexit, raising questions about the prospects of a quick and orderly transition.
| AP Photo Big four banks raised fears Brexit could be messy and slowRead moreThe four biggest U.K. banks are also raising concerns about the potential for a “disruptive disruption” of business.
The British government has already said it may have to impose capital controls if it’s not certain the U.S. will keep trade and banking ties with the EU.
And U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday that “an increasingly disorderly Brexit could lead to a serious deterioration in our ability to manage migration, trade and security.”
The four big U.KS. banks that own the bulk of the world’s biggest banks — Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and UBS — have said they have been warned by the Treasury that Brexit could trigger a capital controls crisis.
They have said that a trade war would likely be triggered by Britain’s decision to leave the EU, potentially causing “devastating disruption” to the global financial system.
“The risk of a disruptive disruption of business activity is high,” they wrote in a letter to Guterre, which was obtained by the Guardian.
The four banks’ letter, published on the Treasury’s website, raises concerns that if the U,S.
and other nations don’t agree on a deal by the end of March, the banks would be forced to reduce their capital requirements.
They said it’s possible that a Brexit could cause a capital-stabilization freeze in London, while the banks could not be sure how the UK would react.
“If there is no orderly transition to the UK, and there is an immediate loss of capital, we will need to reduce our capital requirements, as we would in the event of a disorderly Brexit,” they said.
The letter said that if Britain leaves the EU “it will be in a position to impose new capital controls as part of its exit from the EU,” which would be “unprecedented.”
“This would result in a very difficult and difficult scenario for our banks,” the banks wrote.
“As a result, the likelihood of a disruption of our business activities is likely to increase over time, which could have a material adverse impact on our businesses, clients and investors.”
They said that, while they understand that they may not be able to do what they want in a few months, they are “willing to take that risk” and take it with us to the future.
“Such a situation is very likely to lead to higher costs to U.k. customers, which in turn would increase their overall risk of financial losses, including those in the financial system.””
Our customers in the U to the EU would face a significantly higher risk of being unable to trade with our European customers,” the letter said.
“Such a situation is very likely to lead to higher costs to U.k. customers, which in turn would increase their overall risk of financial losses, including those in the financial system.”
The letters were signed by the UBS, Barclays, UBS Group AG, Llorren Bank, Credit Suisse, U.F.O. and Societe Generale.
The letters were sent to Gitterres on Thursday and Friday and were released to the Guardian on Saturday.
Guterres told reporters Thursday that he believes the banks are “very worried” about the risk of Brexit, though he did not say whether they are in a rush to do anything.
“We are going to work very closely with our colleagues, our European colleagues, to understand the concerns of the banks and what the implications are for them and their businesses,” he said.
In a separate statement to the British press, the UBA said it “strongly supports” the four banks, noting that “they are all very strong supporters of the UK’s position on the terms of departure.”