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Threat to UK bank accounts

Advice from the UK about a ‘no-deal’ states that Britons in the EU “may lose the ability to access existing lending and deposit services.”

However the UK Treasury was unable to provide further clarification.

The wording is mixed with references to potential problems with pay-outs from UK-based insurance policies and private pension annuities paid by insurance firms (see the Brexit section of our website). This is due to UK firms losing EU financial ‘passport’ rights.

Experts previously told Connexion that a solution after Brexit, if French residents are affected, would be to have firms pay into a UK bank account for transfer to a French account. It is an EU right to open a basic bank account in another EU state.

Due to the UK leaving the EU’s SEPA banking zone transfers between the UK and France are likely to take longer and cost more.

More unexpectedly, the UK advice raises concerns over bank accounts themselves. Sources said it is unlikely people would be forced to close their UK accounts but it is possible that using them, including for new deposits, could become harder. The UK says the problem could be eased by concessions by the EU.

Financial advisor Robert Kent said it is unclear if Britons in France, specifically, could be affected as it is possible French rules are flexible enough to allow them to receive payments (Connexion has sought clarification from the Finance Ministry).

He said it was not clear why they should lose the ability to make deposits. This generally only happens if countries are blacklisted unless, due to uncertainties, some UK banks themselves seek to close the accounts of expatriates. He said another affected area would be the ability of financial firms to market services across the UK/EU border (for example for a French-based firm to promote itself to prospective UK-based clients).

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