European finance ministers hammered out a deal on a banking union that removes an immediate threat to London's financial centre. The deal gives oversight authority to the European Central Bank, but it includes crucial concessions that protect London's status as a global financial hub. AFME's Andrew Gowers called the accord a "big step forward" that will improve the single market for financial services. "We think the safeguards [for nonparticipating countries] are adequate," Gowers said. "We wanted to see a fair and balanced way of reaching decisions, particularly on the European Banking Authority ... We think this does that."