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Morning Coffee: The big Brexit gamble for the City. Deutsche Bank’s robots are watching you

LONDON, UK - MARCH 9TH 2014: Downing Street in Westminster, London onthe 9th March 2014.

Tired of politics? Bored of elections? Of course you’re not. Just when you thought we were heading straight for a hard Brexit, Theresa May has now revealed a snap election that will see the UK go to the polls again on June 8 and could change the way the country leaves the EU.

This is not simply a case of the Conservatives pushing their boot further down on the Labour Party’s throat – they’re 21 points ahead right now, and are expected to gain a majority of 130 seats, or double that of Tony Blair’s 2005 government. So far, the City thinks that the election will mean more stalled deal flow, higher trading volumes and a stronger mandate for prime minister Theresa May as she pushes through Brexit.

The latter point is a common theme – May not only wants to strengthen her hand when it comes to negotiations with the EU and quash those in parliament seeking to disrupt the Brexit process, she also wants to the silence the extreme Brexiteers pushing for the hardest of hard exits. Andrew Duff, a former Lib Dem MEP now at the European Policy Centre think-tank, told the FT: “What she wants to do is to screw the extremists, the militants who she is aware are lining up to try to block her from an association agreement with the EU.”

Financial News also thinks the snap election is bad news for extreme Brexit supporters in the City, hoping for a “clean break” freeing it from EU regulations, which would (in theory) allow it to become the Singapore of Europe. But, nor is it likely to lead to continued access to the single market because of May’s desire to control immigration. The middle ground? A “medium soft Brexit”.

Pragmatic or not, the problem is that investment banks hate political uncertainty, and already have their fingers poised above the button to shift staff out to a new EU HQ. This will hardly provide the sort of reassurance that will ensure financial services organisations continue to hub in London, and firms are likely to announce more relocation plans even before the 8 June election.

Separately, Deutsche Bank is watching out for bad behaviour and now has a much more efficient way of doing it. It’s turning to artificial intelligence to monitor voice and video recordings, and keep a closer eye on its employees interactions with clients, according to an interview with Elly Hardwick, head of innovation at the bank in the WSJ. “In the old days, you’d go through tape and listen to hours of audio.” Tape?


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Contact: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Photo: Getty Images

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