Lloyd’s chairman John Nelson today came down firmly on the ‘remain’ side of the EU referendum debate, warning there would be ‘no regulatory nirvana’ if Britain opted for Brexit.
Speaking today at the Lloyd’s of London AGM, Nelson said: “I feel I must respond to some of the assertions being made by the leave campaign in terms of Brexit consequences. It is irresponsible of politicians to pretend that the benefits of a single market can be replicated outside of the EU. In our case, if we were to leave the EU, we would have no right of access to the EU markets without signing up to EU regulations - and indeed incur the financial consequences of contributions to the EU – as happens to other countries within Europe who are outside the EU.
“As regards negotiating bilateral trade agreements to replace the umbrella the EU provides with many countries, it is unrealistic (or in the words of John Major: “fantasy”) to expect the UK to be able to put itself in the same position as the EU trading bloc with these countries. Again, these agreements (of which there would need to be many) would take many years to negotiate.
“Many of these assertions are being made by those, who have little up to date working knowledge of trade relationships and agreements – something which our team at Lloyd’s are involved in globally, every day of the week. And for those that say we would have less regulation if we came out of the European Union, I say there will be no regulatory nirvana. As I have said, if we wanted to maintain our trade with the EU, we would have to comply with EU regulation in any event, and I see no sign that the UK regulators themselves want to deregulate – in fact, regrettably, I see signs of the opposite.”