The UK's interests in financial services in the European single market are being heard an "awful lot more" by Europe than people think, according to an investment trade body.
The Association of Private Client Investment Managers and Stockbrokers (APCIMS) deputy chief executive John Barrass said the UK was in a good position to influence the shape of the future European Union.
He said Britain should be working hard to ensure its views are heard in any further European integration instead of thinking about exiting the single market.
He said:"There is a sense that there is a whole tide movement and when you have a tide you don't try to stop it you try to ride it otherwise it comes over you.
"I think what we should be doing is working very hard to make sure that integration processes are properly managed with our interests in mind."
Barrass said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was full of resources and listened to by policy makers across Europe.
"The amount of resource we can bring to bear in this area is enormous compared to what everybody else can.
"When it comes down to who they are taking advice from they look at us first so we have a really powerful position from which to make sure that the interests and views that we have are heard.
"Behind the scenes we are being heard an awfully lot more than anyone has ever known."
He added: "We want the regulators and the markets to work together so we get a situation where the markets will work for the consumers and firms alike.
"That message has to go right through Europe as a whole, and that we can work on to deliver."
Speakers at the heavily pro-Europe round table discussion The Future of the UK in European Financial Services included former EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson, EU commissioner for internal markets and services Michel Barnier and chair of the City of London policy committee Mark Boleat.
They collectively warned of the dangers of Britain drifting out of the single market, which they credited with being a major factor in strengthening London's position as a global financial centre.
More than 40% of businesses in the UK, they said, have moved here because of the single market.
Mandelson said: "The absolute priority for Britain is to define, negotiate, cast in stone its relationship with Europe, its regulators and the Eurozone.
"Every day spent preparing for an in/out referendum in five years' time is a day we should have spent working out that relationship instead."
"We are in danger of isolating ourselves."
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