Gina Miller, whose lawsuit forced the UK government to put its plans to leave the EU to a parliamentary vote, said Brexit will be “a disaster” for the UK asset management market and will trigger an “exodus” of international companies from London.
Ms Miller, who said she has received repeated threats to her safety since the court ruling last week, believes UK-based asset managers will lose their treasured passporting rights, which allow asset managers and other financial companies to sell services across the EU with ease.
“Those rights will go for sure. International players will leave as a result,” said the fund manager, who revealed some newspapers had approached the police on her behalf following threats made to her online. Ms Miller has been accused of derailing British democracy after her Brexit victory in the High Court.
“No, I’m not scared by the bulk of threats I’ve received but I am scared about an acid attack as has been threatened,” said Ms Miller, who runs the investment house SCM Private with her husband, Alan.
Her legal challenge means that parliament now has to be consulted before Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger a departure from Europe.
“No, I’m not now going to go into politics,” said the 51-year-old. “This was about doing the right thing.”
Ms Miller was born in Guyana but grew up in Britain and is the lead claimant in the historic legal action against Mrs May, arguing that individual members of the cabinet have no legal power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the EU without the prior authorisation of parliament and MPs.
British fund companies rely on mainland European investors for 13 per cent of their assets on average, underlining the importance of maintaining access to the single market for the UK’s £5.7tn investment industry.
EU nationals also account for a 10th of the UK workforce at Man Group and Henderson, the FTSE 250 asset managers. Nearly a 10th of the 1,800 UK employees at Schroders, the UK’s largest listed asset manager, additionally come from mainland Europe.
“The UK fund industry has much to lose,” said Ms Miller.
The Brexit referendum has created significant anxiety for EU nationals about whether they will be able to stay in the UK. Mrs May has refused to guarantee the rights of citizens from the bloc before formal negotiations begin over the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU.