Thursday, 15 December 2016

Tips for Brexit Negotiators #2 - Negotiate the Negotiation

If you’ve ever worked in sales, you are probably familiar with the scenario where you think you have the deal done (and possibly already cut your margin to the bone to get there) only to hear your customer say “Great – but now I need approval from my boss”. Your heart sinks as you realise the boss will need to demonstrate his superior negotiating ability and drive an even harder bargain.

This is a classic case of failing properly to agree the process in advance of the negotiation. Sometimes this is done intentionally by less ethical players to drive a lower price from their suppliers (usually a short-sighted tactic that ignores the long-term value of the relationship) but just as often it arises through negligence. This pitfall is particularly relevant to the Brexit negotiations.

Although the various EU leaders have so far been united in refusing to negotiate before the triggering of Article 50, there is a good case for both sides to work constructively on the process in advance...

The full article can be found on BrexitCentral.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Is Europe United?

Guy Verhofstadt has declared that, while he welcomes Theresa May's end-of-March timeline for Article 50, “there can be no pre-negotiations. Negotiations can only start after the trigger of article 50.”

The negotiation, of course, has already begun, with each side attempting to anchor the other with speeches, leaks and private briefings to the press. The "Four Freedoms", he mentioned for example, are not a law of nature but an aspiration and one which isn't even strictly applied. But they are an excellent anchor.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Brexit Breakfast - The Truth About Clearing

We're excited to announce our inaugural Brexit Breakfast on Wednesday 14th December, where we shall be discussing the much-reported topic of clearing.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Tips for Brexit Negotiators #1 - The Endowment Effect

By Richard Ayres

We humans have a range of shortcuts (or heuristics) built into our decision making process. Usually these rules of thumb are useful (like not eating food that smells funny). Sometimes these shortcuts are not so useful (like that time you doubled down on red at the roulette table after five blacks in succession).

The interesting thing is that all these heuristics are somewhat systematic, so we can account for them if we make ourselves aware of them (and take advantage of them in others who aren't).

Friday, 28 October 2016

Brexit, Game Theory, Blair and The Conquistadors

By Richard Ayres

Former PM Tony Blair recently said in an interview that "There's no reason why we should close off any options" suggesting that the UK should not rule out another referendum on Brexit. Let us assume that he sees value in keeping some optionality.

Game theory, however, shows us that there are times when it can be advantageous to close off your options.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Press Release: New Financial Advisory Forum Unites Leave and Remain To Provide Evidence-based Research

The Association of Corporate Treasurers and London First have become the latest organisations to support the Financial Services Negotiation Forum (FSNForum), a bipartisan research and advisory group bringing together former supporters of both sides of the EU Referendum debate.

The FSNForum, which was launched today, will consult widely and undertake neutral, evidence-based research to provide decision-makers with input on key negotiation issues as Britain exits the EU. The research priorities of the Forum include equivalence, euro-clearing, access to talent and market liquidity. The objective is to help secure an outcome that is in the best achievable interest of the whole of the UK, but which is also founded on the need for an open and internationally competitive European marketplace.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

FSNForum Launch Event - Wednesday 19th October

The FSNForum is excited to announce its formal launch event:

Date: Wednesday 19th October
Time: 6:30pm to 9pm (doors 6pm)
Venue: The London Capital Club, 15 Abchurch Lane, EC4N 7BW

We will be sharing some of the research that we currently have in the pipeline. We also look forward (diaries permitting) to being joined by Baroness Bowles, past Chair of the EU Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Dr. Charles Tannock MEP, Rt Hon Mark Field MP (for the City) and other members of the Forum's Advisory Council.

Daniel Hodson and Anthony Belchambers will also talk about the overall vision for the forum, it's consensus-building philosophy and the analytical approach.

If you are interested in attending, please contact

Thursday, 22 September 2016

City Leavers and Remainers must now unite to ensure the best Brexit deal for UK business

By Anthony Belchambers

There is no doubt that the referendum aroused strong feelings and caused division across the UK – and it continues to do so. However, the electorate has delivered a clear mandate to the UK government for the UK to leave the EU. For its part, the government has made it clear it intends to give effect to that mandate – that is the current position.

Of course, the prospect of future radical shifts in both EU and UK policy cannot be discounted. Nevertheless, it is critically important that both sides of the debate now work coherently and effectively together to secure the best negotiated outcome for UK plc.

Click here for the full article.

Press Release: New Joint Forum Unites Leave and Remain

The Financial Services Negotiation Forum (FSNForum) will formally launch on 19 October with a press briefing announcing its new Board and reporting on progress with various initiatives and the first meeting of its Honorary Advisory Council.  Bringing together former chief supporters from both the leave and remain sides of the referendum debate, the FSNForum will work independently and in partnership with others to produce neutral, evidence-based research on key issues relevant to the negotiations on the basis by which the UK will leave the EU.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Four Critical Questions

The Forum produces research papers specifically designed to ensure that our negotiators have the information necessary to maximise their effectiveness at the table.

In particular, all papers must address these critical questions:

  1. Who are the stakeholders and what are their interests?
  2. What is the value of this issue (economic, political and social) to each of the parties involved?
  3. What is our best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)?
  4. How we can improve our BATNA or mitigate the downside?

Answers to these questions are essential if we are to take an integrative approach to the negotiations, seeking to conclude the best outcome achievable for both sides.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

City of London gears up for UK-EU financial trade talks

From Reuters, 2 Aug 2016::

Two new bodies will advise the British government on negotiating new financial services trading terms with the European Union following the country's vote in June to leave the bloc. 
Below are details of the two new bodies and the challenges they face in the talks, which are expected to start next year...

Full story here.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

City Unites for Bipartisan Brexit

From WSJ, 21 July 2016:
Influential City executives from both sides of the Brexit debate are coming together to launch a new body that aims to represent the financial industry’s interests in the UK’s exit from the European Union. 
The Financial Services Negotiating Forum, which is being headed by a member of Vote Leave lobby group City for Britain and had provisionally been named City United, is in the process of appointing a board of up to 12 well-known names from across finance and regulation. 
It will launch in mid-September.

Full story here.

New City of London group to help government with Brexit talks

From Reuters, 21 July 2016:
Veterans of the City of London's financial services industry are setting up a forum to help the British government in Brexit talks with the European Union, people involved in the project said on Thursday.
Britain's shock vote to leave the bloc has forced financial firms to rethink their business strategy which has until now depended on having an EU "passport" to operate across the region from a base in London. 
Daniel Hodson, a former chief executive of London derivatives exchange LIFFE which is now part of ICE, said the new group - initially known as City United - aimed to bring together under one roof those in the financial sector who backed and opposed Brexit.
Full story here.