City of London skyline is seen from Canary Wharf on November 17, 2017. Picture credit: Tolga Akmen
The City's asset management industry is worth £8tn, but may be more vulnerable than it appears on first sight © Tolga Akmen

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Lloyd Blankfein has been conducting a not-so-stealthy Twitter campaign about Brexit. In a series of teasing tweets from European cities — the “great weather” in Frankurt; the “positive energy here in Paris” — the head of Goldman Sachs has been raising eyebrows across the City of London where concern is rising about the consequences of Brexit for Europe’s biggest financial centre.

In his opinion piece for the FT’s weekend edition Jonathan Ford, our City editor, says that behind the jocular veneer of Mr Blankfein’s tweets lies a simple and brutal message: Brexit has put in play the future of one of Britain’s biggest national assets. Banks have warned that unless they get clarity soon over the nature of Brexit and any transition deal that follows Britain’s formal exit from the EU, they will start to shift jobs out of London. This week David Davis, the Brexit secretary, tried to reassure the City, offering promises of a special migration regime.

But, as Jonathan Ford argues, bankers may be “excessively alarmist” about a legal cliff edge. International law provides safeguards for the services of existing financial products; and there are effective ways to make new sales to clients. There is no reason to suppose that the City cannot flourish after Brexit, he writes.

Killer grannies: Emma Jacobs writes about the downsides of deploying our baby boomer parents to help out with child care, from crisps for breakfast to passive smoking. Grandparents are saving us a bundle and enabling couples to continue working, but at what cost?

Hope in Harare: The ‘non-coup’ in Zimbabwe has the potential to transform southern Africa, says Michael Holman. The country sits at the critical juncture in a regional trading system. But reviving it will not be easy. The damage wrought by close to four decades of brutal misrule is profound.

Budget basics: As Philip Hammond, UK chancellor, prepares to deliver his Budget next week he should avoid any temptation for eye-catching measures, argues Rupert Harrison, former chief of staff to George Osborne, Mr Hammond’s predecessor. What Britain needs are measures to tackle long-term economic fragility.

Best of the week

Poor leadership is the Achilles heel of the Brexiter cause — Janan Ganesh

Flexibility comes at a high price, not just in the gig economy — Sarah O’Connor

Taming the masters of the tech universe — Martin Wolf

The tax reform the US really needs — Rana Foroohar

The Future of Europe — FT columnists present their visions for the continent

What you’ve been saying

New dimension to the job security/flexibility debate — letter from Pritam Singh, Oxford Brookes Business School, UK

“In ‘Secure jobs can be flexible too’, Sarah O’Connor unravels brilliantly and creatively the dialectics of security versus flexibility in the labour market . . . By suggesting that secure jobs should not mean inflexibility and should also be made more flexible, Ms O’Connor has brought to light a dimension commonly missed in the debate on flexibility versus security.”

Comment from In the know on the FT View, A strong City of London is vital for Brexit Britain

“‘ . . . The prime minister now better appreciates the importance of business in wealth creation, tax revenues and confidence in the economy….’ Congratulations to the FT Editors for showing that, despite Brexit dragging us down everywhere else, Britain still has the best developed sense of irony of anywhere in the world.”

Central banks are useful but not that impressive — letter from Alex J Pollock in Washington, DC

“Sir, Martin Wolf’s apologia for central banks asserts that critics of central bank financial manipulation assume that ‘in the absence of central bank policies, the economy would achieve an equilibrium’. As one such critic, I do not share the assumption claimed, since ‘equilibrium’ in an innovative and enterprising economy never exists. As the great Joseph Schumpeter said: ‘Capitalism not only never is, but never can be, stationary.’ It is always in disequilibrium, heading someplace else into an unknowable future.”

Today’s opinion

A Budget free of drama will serve Brexit Britain’s needs
The chancellor should avoid flourishes and tackle long-term economic fragility

Instant Insight: David Davis must realise Europe will favour itself over economics
The Brexit secretary needs to appreciate the EU’s desire to protect its interests

Taming technology
Flexibility ignites clashes as disrupters like Uber force change for the digital age

So . . . let’s not get het up about the English language evolving
Exposure to sub-Wodehouse style of parliamentary speeches makes me long for change

Jeremy Hutchinson, barrister, 1915-2017
The silk who took on the British establishment

Free Lunch: Economic lessons from a left-behind town
The story of Blackpool illustrates a triple process of polarisation

Undercover Economist: Why the robot boost is yet to arrive
The benefits of technologies such as self-driving cars will reveal themselves in time

FT View

FT View: The London Stock Exchange tests good governance
As Brexit approaches, a key City institution is wobbling

FT View: China will fill the space left by America’s retreat
Trump’s tour of Asia may strengthen doubts over US commitments

The Big Read

The Big Read: Zimbabwe: a ‘slow motion coup’
The military intervention was designed to ease Robert Mugabe from power but retain Zanu-PF rule. Now the opposition hopes for a more open system

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