London: The future of London's financial clearing business is a significant consideration in Britain's negotiations on leaving the European Union, but is probably not a top priority for government, city minister Simon Kirby said on Wednesday.
London dominates clearing of derivatives denominated in the euros, and attempts by the European Central Bank to shift clearing to the euro zone were thwarted by the bloc's top court.
But after Britain voted in June to leave the EU, French President Francois Hollande called for clearing of euro denominated securities to shift to the euro zone.
Industry lobby groups have said that keeping clearing in London should be one of the core aims of Britain's negotiations on new trading terms with the bloc.
Britain's financial services minister, Simon Kirby, declined to give full backing to such demands at a parliamentary hearing.
"It's an element of the negotiations. Is it the most important element? Probably not, but it is a significant consideration," Kirby said when asked whether the finance ministry had analysed the impact of relocating clearing houses away from the capital.
"The whole of Europe, UK included, would be worse off if that particular part of financial services that London offers was dismantled and redistributed across Europe," Kirby a committee in the House of Lords.
"There are some people who would have you believe it wouldn't go to Europe at all, and that it would end up in New York, which would be a very bad place for all of us."