The Supreme Court has ruled that the UK cannot leave the European Union without a vote in Parliament. The incumbent government had previously appealed a high court decision to allow a vote, arguing that there was already authority to trigger Article 50 – the legislation which formally informs the European Union of the UK’s intent to leave.
Commentators from the wealth and asset management industries react to the ruling:
Geoffrey Yu, Head of the UK Investment Office at UBS Wealth Management
“Though there will be some cheer among those with lingering hopes for a delayed Brexit, today’s decision represents a marginal delay, at most. The immediate relief will be short-lived.
"With the bulk of the market and British households now resigned to the reality of leaving the EU, many business will be making their Brexit contingency plans regardless of the delay. A prolonged sense of uncertainty does not mean Brexit will not happen, and we expect that Article 50 will be triggered in March regardless.
“Sterling investors will be sending their thanks to the Supreme Court today. The added complication in the Brexit timeline should see the pound gain further ground against the dollar."
Mike Zelouf, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Legg Mason affiliate Western Asset Management
“The main source of uncertainty for the UK domestically remains Brexit. The legal challenge over the role of Parliament in the exit process should not, in our opinion, delay Prime Minister Theresa May triggering Article 50.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision was largely expected and we now expect the government to table a brief bill to go in front of parliament in the coming days. While amendments to the bill are possible, with Scotland not being granted a veto over triggering article 50 and Labour confirming they will not “frustrate” the article 50 process, and with the government explicitly ruling out a second referendum, we now see a very high probability of article 50 being triggered by the government’s self-imposed March 31st deadline.
“The debate over a hard versus soft Brexit is a false one in our opinion; the Single European Act was the first updating of the Treaty of Rome, making membership of the European Community and the single market indivisible. The issue is terms of exit: will it be tariff-free or not? In our view, this uncertainty should be more clearly reflected in the currency market rather than the UK bond market.”
Liz Field, CEO at the Wealth Management Association
“The WMA will provide whatever support our member firms require as further details emerge on the UK’s disengagement from the EU. We will continue to work hard to avoid any potential ‘unintended consequence’ for our final clients”,
“We will continue to work with government so that the UK remains the global centre of excellence in wealth management, delivering first-rate services to private investors. Ensuring a predictable, orderly transition will be crucial for the sector”.