One of the more alarming projections was that 100,000 financial jobs would disappear from London as all the banks moved into mainland Europe in order to protect their passporting rights. It followed that investment in the UK would also suffer as potential buyers sat on their hands, awaiting the outcome of negotiations, or simply decided not to invest in London at all.
However, all of this has been exposed as mere hype, because according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), foreign direct investment inflows into the UK rose by 20 per cent in 2016 from a year earlier to £197bn, the highest level of recorded inflows since 2005. It might be argued that this is just a consequence of sterling’s weakness, but investment decisions are made on more than just a whim associated with exchange rates, and are generally long-term in nature. There is never a rush to dive into a South American country with a weak exchange rate; the decision to invest is made on the quality of the asset. This is borne out by the fact that net purchases by overseas investors held steady in August, even though sterling had recovered most of the ground lost to the dollar in the aftermath of the referendum.