Deutsche chief executive on Brexit: Britain ‘pulling in the right direction’

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Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing thinks the U.K. is now “pulling in the right direction” after providing clarity over Brexit.

Speaking in a debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the CEO of the German bank reiterated his commitment to maintaining “a material and very important” presence in the U.K.

Sewing said: “I think what has been done now, and the clarity of the certainty that has been given over the past six weeks, is for sure pulling in the right direction. For Deutsche Bank, we always said the U.K. for us would always be a material and very important location. I think London will always be one of the key capital markets.”

However, he stopped short of committing Deutsche DBK, +1.50%  to further investment, and said companies are holding back.

Sewing, who was speaking at a panel called After Brexit: Renewing Europe’s Growth, said: “We need to find out how the trade deal is really finalised. There is still a risk it won’t be finalised so I wouldn’t say people are going all in on a risk return that might be the wrong call, so they wait for future development.

“We have adjusted in a way to have a significant presence in place over there [London], but of course have prepared for the worst, so we could do everything out of Frankfurt—that has been done. But I certainly believe London will be a very important location for Deutsche Bank.”

Speaking on the same panel, Paolo Gentiloni, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, was also upbeat on Britain’s prospects after Brexit. He said: “If the U.K. government wants to have a very large access to the single market, we are ready to do this, but it’s not for us to decide.

“We have our rules, we expect a level playing field, but we could reach a good agreement. A few months is short for a free-trade agreement but it is in our power to have the best possible relationship.”

READ: The Era of Negative Rates Is Already Fading. Here’s What That Means.

On growth, Sewing was concerned Europe is behind Asia, China and the U.S. and feels Europeans need an agreement to accelerate growth.

“We have the chance to accelerate growth, but just fiscal stimulus on its own is not the solution,” he said. “I think the [European Central Bank] has done a good job safeguarding Europe and the euro, but it missed the exit and we are reaching the point where monetary policy has reached its limits.”

This article is part of our ongoing coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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