经济学人官方译文 | 全球最大的国际金融中心面临最严峻的挑战

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Financial services
金融服务
Can the City survive Brexit?
金融城前途几何?
The biggest international financial centre in the world faces its toughest test
全球最大的国际金融中心面临最严峻的挑战

?THE WORLD has a handful of great commercial hubs. Silicon Valley dominates technology. For electronics, head to Shenzhen. The home of luxury is Paris and the capital of outsourcing is Bangalore, in India. One of the mightiest clusters of all is London, which hosts the globe’s largest international financial centre. Within a square mile on the Thames, a multinational firm can sell $5bn of shares in 20 minutes, or a European startup can raise seed finance from Asian pensioners. You can insure container ships or a pop star’s vocal cords. Companies can hedge the risk that a factory anywhere on the planet will face a volatile currency or hurricanes and a rising sea level a decade from now.
全球顶尖商业中心屈指可数。硅谷主导科技产业,深圳主打电子产品,巴黎是奢侈品之乡,印度的班加罗尔是外包之都。最强大的集群之一伦敦则拥有全球最大的国际金融中心。在泰晤士河沿岸一平方英里的区域内,一家跨国公司可以在20分钟内售出50亿美元的股票,一家欧洲创业公司可以从亚洲养老基金那里融到种子资金。你可以为集装箱货船或一位流行歌星的声带投保。企业可以为地球上任何地方的工厂在未来十年内将面临的货币波动、飓风或海平面上升等风险做对冲。

This metropolis of money, known as the City, generates £120bn ($152bn) of output a year—as much as Germany’s car industry. Because it allocates capital and distributes risk at a vast scale, its influence is global. But now, with a “no-deal” conclusion looking increasingly likely after a change of leader of the Conservative Party, Brexit threatens to rupture Britain’s financial links with the European Union. If Labour wins the next election under Jeremy Corbyn, Britain will also end up with its most left-wing government since 1945, one that is deeply hostile to capital and markets. Either outcome would make the EU poorer and damage London’s position. Together, they could change the workings of the global financial system.
这个被称为伦敦金融城的资本重镇每年的经济产值高达1200亿英镑(1520亿美元)——和整个德国的汽车产业差不多。它分配资本、分散风险的规模巨大,因此具有全球影响力。但现在,保守党党首更迭之后,“无协议”脱欧的可能性似乎越来越大,这可能会割裂英国与欧盟的金融联系。如果工党在杰里米·科尔宾(Jeremy Corbyn)的带领下赢得下一次选举,将成为1945年以来英国最左翼的政府,对资本和市场都极不友好。两种结果都会削弱欧盟的经济,同时损害伦敦的地位。两者叠加可能会改变全球金融体系的运作。

London’s prowess is something to behold. It hosts 37% of the world’s currency dealing and 18% of cross-border lending. It is a hub for derivatives, asset management, insurance and investment banks. Relations with Europe are particularly intimate. The City generates a quarter of its income from the continent, and Europe gets a quarter of its financial services from London, often the most sophisticated ones. French or Italian firms go to London to meet investors or organise a takeover. When the European Central Bank buys bonds as part of its monetary policy, the sellers are very often asset managers and banks domiciled in Britain. Some 90% of European interest-rate swaps are cleared through the City’s plumbing.
伦敦的实力有目共睹。它的货币交易和跨境贷款量分别占全球的37%和18%。它是衍生品、资产管理、保险和投资银行的中心。它与欧洲的关系尤为密切。金融城收入的四分之一来自欧洲大陆,而欧洲大陆所需的金融服务有四分之一从伦敦获得,通常还是最复杂的那类服务。法国或意大利的公司会选择前往伦敦会见投资者或安排收购。当欧洲央行调整货币政策而购买债券时,卖方通常是总部设在英国的资产管理公司和银行。约90%的欧洲利率掉期产品通过金融城的金融网络清算。

The City’s history is long but serpentine. In 1873 Walter Bagehot,?The Economist’s then-editor, wrote of its “natural pre-eminence”. In fact decades of decline lay ahead. A revival began in the 1960s when the offshore market for dollar lending boomed. Another lift came with the stockmarket deregulation of Big Bang in 1986 and again after 2000 when London became a centre for trading the euro and emerging markets. Even the financial crisis of 2008 did not do much damage to the City’s standing abroad. Today the magic formula has many parts: openness to people and capital, the time zone, proximity to subsea data cables, and posh schools. But, above all, it relies on stable politics and regulation, close ties to America and seamless ones to Europe. Brexit and Mr Corbyn threaten this formula in three ways.
金融城的历史悠久而曲折。1873年,时任《经济学人》总编辑的白芝浩(Walter Bagehot)曾写到它具有“天然优势”。事实上,之后的几十年金融城一直在走下坡路。它的复兴始于上世纪60年代,当时美元贷款的离岸市场蓬勃发展。1986年对股市放松管制的“金融大爆炸”政策实施以及2000年伦敦成为欧元和新兴市场的交易中心后,金融城两次受到提振。即使是2008年的金融危机也没有对它的海外地位造成太大的损害。今天,维续金融城地位的神奇配方包含多个元素:对人和资本的开放、所处时区、临近海底数据电缆,以及精英学校。但最重要的是,它依赖稳定的政治和监管、与美国的紧密联系,以及与欧洲的无缝对接。英国脱欧和科尔宾从三个方面威胁到这个配方。

The first is by ripping up the legal framework, as the EU cancels the “passports” that let City firms operate across the continent. Activity may move in search of certainty. The second is by the remaining 27 EU members adopting an industrial policy that uses regulation to compel financial firms to move to the euro zone. As Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris jostle for business, this fight is turning ugly. And the last is from within Britain—if a Corbyn government takes the country back decades, with nationalisation at below-market prices, a financial-transactions tax, a tough line on mergers and acquisitions and possibly even capital controls. If a Labour government also attacks private schools and second homes, London’s giant pools of capital will disappear faster than a trader’s cocktail.
首先是破坏法律框架,因为脱欧后欧盟会取消允许金融城的公司在欧洲大陆运营的“护照”。金融活动可能会转移到确定性更高的地方。其次,其余27个欧盟成员国采取产业政策,利用监管来迫使金融公司迁往欧元区。随着阿姆斯特丹、法兰克福和巴黎竞相争夺业务,这场战争正日益白热化。最后一个威胁来自英国国内——如果科尔宾领导的政府以低于市场的价格进行国有化,征收金融交易税,对并购采取强硬政策,甚至进行资本管制,英国将倒退几十年。如果工党政府再向私立学校和第二套房开刀,伦敦巨大的资本池将比交易员杯中的鸡尾酒消失得更快。

Given the sums at stake—London hosts $20trn of bank assets and securities—you might expect a grand bargain between the EU and its financial hub. Some chance. Britain has spurned the option of staying in the single market. A bespoke deal for financial services is not on the table because the EU is loth to grant special favours to a departing country. It is as if New York and Wall Street were divorcing America without any agreement. Thanks to temporary licences, the risk of a financial crisis on Brexit day is slim. But these arrangements will not last long—the deal over derivatives, say, expires next year.
鉴于受威胁的资产规模巨大——伦敦聚集了价值20万亿美元的银行资产和证券——你可能以为欧盟与其金融中心之间会达成一项重大协议。机会不大啊。英国已经狂傲地拒绝了留在单一市场的选择。目前也没有专门为金融业谈一份协议这个选项,因为欧盟不愿意给予一个脱离它的国家特殊待遇。这就好像纽约和华尔街没有达成任何协议就脱离美国一样。由于有临时牌照,在英国脱欧当天就发生金融危机的风险很小。但这种安排只是暂时的,比如衍生品交易临时牌照将于明年到期。

Behind the stand-off is a deep divide. The City could keep free access to the EU if it agreed to be regulated by it. But Britain rightly fears handing control of its largest industry to the bloc, particularly if the EU’s unspoken goal is to shrink London. Europe’s motives blend principle and greed. It wants to supervise its own financial system, but also to grab jobs and tax revenues from London. In the long run the most likely set-up is “equivalence”, in which firms receive recognition from Europe. The catch is that, as Switzerland is discovering, this can be withdrawn at any time, leading to a state of permanent instability. That threat will lead to a drift of activity and people into the euro zone as EU authorities win full sovereignty over the euro zone’s capital markets.
僵持的背后是深刻的分歧。如果同意接受欧盟监管,金融城可以继续自由进入欧盟市场。但英国自然要担心把自己最大产业的控制权交给欧盟,特别是如果欧盟隐藏的目标是降低伦敦的影响力的话。欧洲的动机混合了原则和贪念。它希望监督自己的金融体系,但同时也想从伦敦抢夺职位和税收。从长远来看,最有可能采用的方式是通过“等同性”机制让英国的金融企业获得欧洲的认可。问题在于,正如瑞士所发现的那样,这种认可随时可能被撤销,这就导致了永久的不稳定状态。随着欧盟当局赢得对欧元区资本市场的完全管治权,这种威胁将导致金融活动和从业人员逐渐转入欧元区。

This sounds good for the EU, but it is likely to be a pyrrhic victory. The continent’s financial system is balkanised and dominated by sluggish banks. New business will be spread across several cities, fragmenting activity further. Europe’s heavy-handed regulation may prompt non-EU business to stay away. Ultimately the costs of a less efficient financial system are likely to outweigh the extra income from capturing business from London. The annual bill for every 0.1 percentage-point increase in euro-zone firms’ cost of funding amounts to €32bn, or 0.3% of GDP.
这听上去对欧盟不错,却很可能是一场得不偿失的胜利。欧洲大陆的金融体系已经“巴尔干化”,且由疲弱的银行主导。新业务将分散在几个城市,令金融活动进一步分裂。欧洲严格的监管可能会促使非欧盟企业远离欧洲。最终,金融系统效率变低带来的成本可能会超过从伦敦抢夺业务所带来的额外收入。欧元区企业的融资成本每增加0.1个百分点,每年增加的成本总计320亿欧元,占GDP的0.3%。

And what of the City? It has a chance of prospering. Its links with America remain tight. It will have to try to keep Europe close, too, while increasing its non-EU international business from today’s share of 25-30%, and developing new strengths in fintech and green finance. The biggest danger is that it has lost the battle of ideas at home. Many Britons, not just Mr Corbyn, resent the City’s post-crisis bail-out—no matter that British banks have since tripled their capital buffers, and thus pose little threat to taxpayers. Even Margaret Thatcher, who oversaw Big Bang in the 1980s, disliked flash bankers. But Britons cannot ignore the £65bn, or 3% of GDP, of annual tax that the City pays towards hospitals and schools. For a country that is losing friends fast, having a global, sophisticated industry is a blessing, not a curse.
那金融城又如何呢?它仍有繁荣的机会。它和美国的关系仍然紧密。它必须努力也与欧洲维持密切关系,与此同时增加其非欧盟国际业务(目前占其总业务的25%至30%),还要发展自己在金融科技和绿色金融领域里的新优势。它面临的最大危险是它在国内的舆论之争中已经失利。许多英国人,不仅仅是科尔宾,对伦敦在金融危机后救市的做法深感不满——尽管英国的银行此后将资本缓冲增至以前的三倍,因而对纳税人构成的威胁已经微乎其微。即使是在上世纪80年代采取“金融大爆炸”政策的撒切尔夫人也不喜欢招摇的银行家。但英国人不能忽视金融城每年缴纳的650亿英镑税收(相当于英国GDP的3%),这些钱被用于资助医院和学校。对于一个正在快速失去朋友的国家来说,拥有一个全球性的尖端产业是福不是祸。

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