On March 2, 2016, Mark Boleat, the Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee delivered a speech that merits to be quoted as length because it provides a detailed and unambiguous answer to this question:
“At its meeting on 25 February, the Policy and Resources Committee…decided by a large majority, 18 votes to six, that the Corporation should have a corporate view, and by a larger majority, 17 votes to three, that that view should be: “Taking into account the views of City stakeholders and businesses, the City of London Corporation supports the united Kingdom remaining a member of the European Union.”Members of the Committee were influenced by the views of “the City”, here meaning the widely defined UK financial services industry. Not one financial trade association has expressed the view that Britain would be better off leaving the EU – the views varying from neutrality to support for remaining. The representatives of major City institutions such as Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, Aviva, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Barclays, Prudential, RSA, Standard Life and Santander have given the views of their institution, not their personal views, that Britain should remain a member… And lest anyone think that we take account only of big companies the views of our rapidly growing tech industry are interesting. In a poll of 98 fintech start-up business published yesterday, by Innovate Finance, the representative body for the fintech industry, supported by the City Corporation, 81% voted to remain in the EU, a very similar result to the survey conducted by Tech London Advocates last year.The City Corporation is very much more than a local authority; it provides valuable services to the City and the country and it is an established and recognised voice for the financial services industry. The views of our stakeholders are certainly not unanimous, but by a significant majority they favour the UK remaining a member of the EU.”
London attracts a vast number of investors and high income individuals from all corners of the world and in particular from the Middle East, Russia, and China. Its attraction consists exactly in being the most convenient access point to the entire European continent.
One should see London as the major hub of the complex network that stretches out throughout Europe and beyond. Amputating this hub from its constituent network will inevitably result in its contraction and faying away as Europe primary financial centre and the emergence of other major nodes vying to to replace it that are particularly well positioned to do so - one can think of Paris, Frankfurt, and Berlin in particular.