The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has put forward a template for future trade agreements with non-EU countries, in an effort to assist UK insurers expand their operations to new countries after Brexit. The ABI’s proposals are contained in a document that has been offered to HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade. It is envisaged that the text within the document could be inserted straight into future trade agreements on financial services if/when they are agreed with other countries.
The terms proposed include:
- Relaxing the rules on foreign ownership, to assist UK firms in achieving a minimum 51% ownership stake in companies, so that they have a controlling stake;
- Liberalising regulations on data transfer, so that firms can transfer data across borders in a way which allows them to assess and underwrite risk properly; and
- Including pension and savings products within the scope of the deal(s), so that UK firms can compete on long-term savings products in more countries.
According to the ABI, insurers see China and India as their priority market once Britain leaves the EU, and want bilateral trade deals to ensure those states relax restrictions on foreign ownership.
One of the ABI’s motivations in submitting the template was to stand up for the insurance industry and prevent its interests from being overshadowed by those of the banking industry in discussions about UK financial services after Brexit.
The press release and a link to the framework are available here.