SIBOS audience applauds Boris Johnson’s loss in the Supreme Court

At 10.30am on Tuesday 24th September I was sitting in a packed audience at SIBOS in London’s Excel, listening to a talk about the future of banking.

I was listening but must admit Twitter was my main focus at the time. I was waiting to see the ruling by the Supreme Court over the lawfulness of the government’s prorogation of parliament.

I was not alone. On stage the adjudicator broke the conversation on stage briefly to announce to the audience the astounding ruling where all 11 Supreme Court judges ruled that the Prime Minister had unlawfully prorogued parliament, and them ordered it null and void.

After a moments hesitancy as people looked over their shoulders to ensure they were not going to embarrass themselves by being the first to clap, a round of applause and a bit of a cheer, broke out.

So a room full of bankers and tech entrepreneurs clapped and cheered at news that a Conservative government had lost.

But it might not just be the only loss for the Tory government. It might be losing the backing of business and financial serviced businesses at that. Party of business? Humbug. More like party of their business.

The audience reaction suggested that the current uncertainty around the UK leaving the EU is more desirable than a government that tries to stifle the sovereignty of parliament and the voices of people and businesses along with it and push for a no deal.

I have already written about what the tech industry in financial services think of Brexit. I haven’t spoken to one fintech or tech worker that thinks it is a good idea. In fact they all think it is a very bad idea. And at least from the reaction of the audience at SIBOS it seems this view is shared by bankers.

A survey recently carried out by fintech trade organisation Innovate Finance found that 78% of UK fintech companies are inadequately prepared for the ramifications of a no-deal Brexit, and 45% don’t feel prepared if there is a transition period, according to a recent survey.

So Brexit cancellation or delay is what they want. If they don’t get it the UK is set to lose hundreds of businesses. The research, which was published this month, found that 17% of respondents are considering moving to a different jurisdiction as a result of Brexit.

The main concerns were around passporting rights, which currently allow EU banks to serve customers across the trading block, cross-border transactions and access to talent.

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