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Britain out of EU could be like Singapore: financier

18 March 2016, 12:52 CET
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(LONDON) - Britain leaving the European Union could be like Singapore becoming independent from Malaysia in 1965, a top British financier said on Friday, playing down the potential impact of Brexit on the City of London.

"When Singapore became independent from Malaysia, that little insecurity that they were no longer part of Malaysia, it was an inspiration," Peter Hargreaves told BBC radio.

"I honestly think that would be good for us too," said Hargreaves, the co-founder of stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, which is in the FTSE-100 list of top companies listed on the London stock market.

Surveys show a majority of British businesses want to stay in the EU and the City of London's governing body also favours a "Remain" vote in the referendum on June 23.

But there is some support for Brexit, including from smaller companies which complain about excessive EU bureaucracy and business leaders who say Britain could negotiate better trade deals on its own.

"We raise money for the Russians, we raise money all over the world, for countries that are not in Europe," Hargreaves said.

"They've got to use London. London can raise billions on a few phone calls."

He added: "I'm firmly convinced, that the day -- hopefully -- we decide to leave, that little bit of insecurity, that little bit of unknown, will be an absolute fillip to everyone."

The Leave.EU campaign group said it was "absolutely thrilled" at his support.

"When true entrepreneurs like him come out to say that leaving the EU is a once in a lifetime opportunity, people listen," said spokesman Andy Wigmore.

Polling shows support for a "Remain" vote is slightly ahead of "Leave" but up to 20 percent of voters remain undecided.

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