London’s financial district opens US offices amid post-Brexit charm offensive

LONDON (Reuters) -The governing body of London’s financial district is opening offices in New York and Washington, D.C., in a push by British policymakers to forge stronger international financial ties after Brexit.

The City of London Corporation, which runs the capital’s so-called “Square Mile,” said its New York outpost opened on Monday, with the Washington office set to open on Tuesday.

The organization said its aim was to help Britain foster closer financial regulatory cooperation with the U.S., improve market access for British firms and attract greater U.S. investment into Britain.

“Post Brexit, the business bandwidth between the U.S. and the U.K. has accelerated which made it incumbent upon us to have a physical office to keep these connections going,” Lord Mayor Michael Mainelli, ceremonial leader of the City of London, told Reuters.

The U.K. is the second largest investment management centre outside the U.S. with 15% of global assets under management, and there is scope to grow that further by providing better business connectivity to London, Mainelli said.

The move comes as Britain pursues a raft of reforms designed to boost capital inflow and regain lost ground to rival financial centres, after Brexit largely cut its access to one of its biggest markets – the European Union.

British lawmakers last week criticised the package of reforms to date as a “damp squib”, arguing they were yet to make a substantial impact.

Britain’s financial services minister, Bim Afolami, welcomed the City of London’s office openings in the U.S., adding that the British government wanted to encourage closer trade and investment between the two countries.

(Reporting by Iain Withers and Nupur Anand; editing by David Evans and Marguerita Choy)