LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - Financial businesses have realistic expectations about serving European Union customers after Britain leaves the bloc next year and could deal with a so-called hard Brexit, a top EU official said on Thursday.
“It would be completely irresponsible to create an atmosphere where we can say, don’t worry, everything will go well and smoothly because we simply don’t know,” European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told reporters in Brussels.
The EU has told the financial sector to prepare for a smooth or hard Brexit, even if the bloc’s aim is to obtain a good trade agreement with Britain, he added.
“The feedback from the financial sector itself is that they are prepared, they are realistic not to take too much risk as their duty is to serve their clients,” Katainen said.
Many banks and insurance companies in Britain are applying for licences to open or expand hubs in the EU to avoid rupturing links with customers. (Reporting by Huw Jones Editing by David Goodman)