THE Financial Conduct Authority’s Brexit chief has urged European firms that want to continue operating in the UK in the case of a hard exit to come forward or face having to wind down.

Nausicaa Delfas, executive director of international at the FCA responsible for its international strategy and also for its Brexit preparations, said EU-based firms can register for a “temporary permission regime” to continue conducting business in the UK under a version of the current “passporting” scheme, which allows financial firms and funds to operate across member states, but must do so before March 28.

She said Scots financial firms that do business in the EU should examine changing laws in individual states across Europe as countries seek to develop their own policy.

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She said: “We’ve done quite a lot of work to make sure that firms and funds can continue to operate in the UK and in the EU and also to ensure that we have a robust regulatory framework on day one.

“It is really important that firms and funds that are currently passporting in to the UK register with the FCA and the temporary permission regime if they want to continue to do new business and operate in the event of a hard exit.”

Speaking during a roadshow to Scotland, where there are 139,000 people employed in financial services, Ms Delfas also said the EU has not yet put in place a reciprocal regime but some member states are issuing their own laws to try to mirror the position of the UK.

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Ms Delfas said: “It’s important that firms that want to operate in different EU countries have a look at what those laws are, what they cover and how they would impact business.

“We have achieved some agreements with the supervisory authorities in the EU which are really important from a point of supervisory co-operation and information sharing.”

That includes agreement with the European Supervisory Markets Authority “that enables fund delegation to continue across border which is important for the asset management industry”.