Friday 21 September 2018

'Avalanche of firms could flee London'

The City of London looks set to lose more business because of Brexit
The City of London looks set to lose more business because of Brexit
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The City of London could see an "avalanche" of companies leaving unless the UK government can bring some clarity to the Brexit talks and the proposed transition, the mayor of London's financial district has warned.

Alderman Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said there has so far been little movement of staff out of London to other locations as a result of the Brexit vote, but preparations are being made.

"In terms of people actually leaving the City, we're told night and day that the City is going to decamp to Dublin, to Frankfurt, to Paris, to New York, etc," Mr Parmley said.

"Thus far we've seen very little movement of people, although we've seen a great deal of preparation for movement," he added.

He said JP Morgan was planning on doubling its headcount in the EU outside of the UK, as it plans to expand its staff in Dublin, but is still retaining 14,000 workers in the Square Mile.

"That's the current situation but this could become a complete avalanche, or deluge, if we don't get clarity about transition," Mr Parmley told the Dublin Chamber Brexit lunch.

Mr Parmley, who holds the ceremonial post of mayor of the municipal authority that oversees London's financial district, has stressed that the financial sector needs to know more about the "final state" or future trading terms with the EU.

He also told the audience of business chiefs that Dublin would beat other European rivals like Paris and Frankfurt as a location for companies displaced from London due to Brexit.

But he warned there is competition from outside the EU also.

"Dublin would be a natural partner within the European environment.

"Because of the language, because of the long tradition of co-operation together and because of the huge amount of bilateral trade," Mr Parmley said.

"That said, if London begins to fail, and we see fragmentation on the scale that we've been told, I don't think in the end, the net beneficiaries are going to be Dublin, Frankfurt or Paris, they're going to be New York, Singapore or Hong Kong," he said.

"So we've all got to watch out for the bigger players."

During his two-day visit here, Mr Parmley will hold talks with Central Bank Governor Professor Philip Lane as well as Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

He will also travel to Belfast. It has been chosen as the prime location for the UK's innovation centre for cybersecurity and the City's ambassador for the financial sector will tour it during his visit.

Irish Independent

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