By Judith Mora
London, Dec 1 (EFE).- The newly inaugurated mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, told Efe he believes that Brexit has had a “relatively insignificant” and “marginal” impact on the British finance sector.
The first Irishman to hold the ceremonial post since its creation in the 12th century, Keaveny will meet with business and political representatives in Madrid on Thursday, in his first trip abroad as ambassador for the UK’s financial sector.
His aim is to “strengthen ties with Spain,” as “it is the UK’s largest European partner in terms of investment in financial services,” with 20 billion pounds (23.5 billion euros) in 2019, he told Efe in an interview ahead of his trip.
The post of Lord Mayor — the highest authority, behind only Queen Elizabeth II, in the central district known as the Square Mile — is different from that of Mayor of London, a position retained in May elections by Labour’s Sadiq Khan.
After three decades as a lawyer, the 56-year-old Dubliner was elected, as is tradition, by City voters from among 25 councilors, for a one-year term at the helm of the City of London Corporation.
“I think the City has adjusted to Brexit. Some companies have had to open subsidiaries in the European Union to continue operating there, others have moved assets. But the overall impact has been relatively insignificant,” Keaveny told Efe in the sumptuous official residence of Mansion House in his first interview with a Spanish-language media outlet.
Although some 10,000 jobs have been lost, “tens of thousands more have been created, especially in fintech,” so the UK’s exit from the EU “has not been a negative thing.”
“The real impact on the business of the city has been fairly marginal,” he insisted.
While Brexit has had its difficulties, “if there was one positive” about the withdrawal, “it’s the fact that it has made people think about the rest of the world again,” Keaveny said.