By Simon Jessop
LONDON (Reuters) - A lobby group representing leading financial services firms in Britain said on Wednesday that urgent clarity on the country's exit from the European Union was needed to secure jobs rather than access to a single market.
The Investments and Savings Association (TISA), which counts banks and mutual funds among its 160 members, said in a statement it had submitted initial proposals to the Treasury which did not require "passport" rights to sell products across the EU or need the free movement of people.
"(The) industry needs to know the government's proposed direction of travel now so it can make the necessary preparations in readiness for the new relationship with the EU."
A deal that did not provide British firms with full access to the single market "should not be an insurmountable problem" if the government matched EU laws under a process of "third-country equivalence", TISA added.
That could then be matched by a reciprocal deal which allowed 8,000 EU firms currently doing business within the UK to continue as well, said TISA, which includes BlackRock <BLK.N> and Legal & General <LGEN.L> among its members.
By doing so, TISA said Britain could create a two-tier structure, with those firms wanting to trade financial services in the EU doing so under one rule book, and those who just want to sell to British customers operating with fewer rules.
"It is vital that firms can see a clear vision of what the Government’s negotiating stance will be so they can commence planning for its implementation," Director General David Dalton-Brown said, adding that TISA's plan would mean "minimal impact for the 113,000 UK jobs dependent upon trade with the EU and the 8,000 EU financial services that are trading inside the UK."
TISA also called on the government to attract more global, non-EU financial services to Britain by developing a well-regulated market appropriate for the world outside of the EU, and said it was essential to keeping it as a world center.
"UK firms need to feel confident that they have ongoing access to the pool of EU and non-EU talent, supported by a faster visa process, while those professional people already working in UK financial services need to be reassured that we want them to stay," TISA said.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)