Wednesday 26 April 2017

UK banks poised to relocate post-Brexit

These institutions have shaped the City of London into Europe’s banking capital since the advent of the single market. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
These institutions have shaped the City of London into Europe’s banking capital since the advent of the single market. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Banks will start moving operations out of the UK by the end of the year, even before Brexit negotiations get under way, according to the head of a hugely influential industry body.

British Bankers Association (BBA) chief executive Anthony Browne piled pressure on policymakers in London to move to retain big banks that dominate much of the British economy.

These institutions have shaped the City of London into Europe's banking capital since the advent of the single market.

But now the banks' "hands are quivering over the relocate button", Browne wrote in the Observer newspaper.

He signalled growing unease among banks at the potential loss of access to the single market and the increasingly shrill antagonism to open markets for labour and trade voiced by British political leaders.

Ireland, in particular Dublin, along with Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, are seen among the options for exiting banks.

"IDA Ireland will be fighting hard for any piece of mobile investment that results from Brexit," a spokesman for the agency said yesterday.

"We have had an increase in queries to our offices across the world post-Brexit and our global teams are engaging with many potential investors into Ireland."

France has also made an aggressive bid to win banks from London to the financial district at La Defense, including offering rapid regulatory clearance to incoming firms.

Dublin, meanwhile, could suffer from its disfunctional property market.

A comparison by Bloomberg of options for banks named lack of office space and housing as problems in Dublin.

It quoted Simon Betty of Dundrum Town Centre owner Hammerson Ireland, who said he's been looking for office space since last winter and hasn't found anything.

"We're in the property industry, so if we can't find a place, who can?" he asked.

Irish Independent

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