Sunday 22 September 2019

Barclays set to be largest Brexit move to Dublin

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David Chance

Barclays is likely to be the largest Brexit move to Dublin.

The number of applications by UK financial services firms to domicile here is expected to rise from the 100 already received by the Central Bank of Ireland, although the move by Barclays to put its European hub here is likely to be the largest single deal.

There has been a scramble to ensure that UK firms can continue to service clients in the European Union after Brexit on March 29. Ireland has emerged as a top destination, causing a surge in applications to the Central Bank, although time is running out for new applications.

"It is unlikely we are going to see another one of that size," said an official familiar with the Central Bank's approvals process. Barclays, which will bring assets of some €250bn to Ireland, has rented out plush new offices at Green Reit's One Molesworth Street in Dublin city centre, setting up a standalone subsidiary with its own capital and regulatory oversight.

Its sales and trading desks, however, are likely to wind up in Paris, reflecting decisions by banks to split up their operations in the post-Brexit era.

"If we get an application now, it is going to be tight to get through it by the end of March," said an official familiar with the central bank's thinking.

In 2017, the Central Bank authorised 295 firms in total and the additional Brexit-related work has strained resources.

In a report on authorisations for the first half of this year, the bank said it failed to meet its processing targets for non-EU authorised investment management firms for the first time due to a 27pc spike in submissions in the second quarter versus a year ago.

The Central Bank does not reveal details of which sectors of the financial services industry have made applications, as that would make it easy to identify the firms. An official at the Central Bank said that, in any case, UK institutions may be making applications in more than one EU country in a move that likely reflects the dispersion of activities in several countries rather than a bid to game the regulatory system.

"That risk has been very significantly mitigated," an official with knowledge of the process said in reference to so-called "regulatory arbitrage" in which banks would seek the laxest regime.

Dublin continues to be the most popular choice for relocation, with 21 firms across financial services having committed to relocating staff or operations to the Irish capital since the referendum, according to consultancy EY's "Brexit tracker".

Irish Independent

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