Saturday 24 March 2018

Revealed: Frankfurt and Dublin emerge as top destinations for financial services after Brexit

The euro sculpture in front of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany
The euro sculpture in front of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany Newsdesk Newsdesk

Frankfurt and Dublin have emerged as top destinations for financial services looking to shift operations out of the UK after Brexit, beating rival hubs such as Luxembourg and Paris.

EY's Brexit Tracker shows that 59 of the 222 companies monitored are either reviewing their primary locations or have started moving parts of their business out of the UK, up from 23 companies in March.

While "several" companies have cited more than one possible hub for those operations, the survey found that most firms have chosen Germany or Ireland as their new EU home.

The survey highlighted that 19 firms have already publicly stated that they will be moving staff or operations to Dublin or other parts of Ireland, while 18 have mentioned Frankfurt or Germany in their post-Brexit contingency plans.

Insurer Legal & General said in May that it plans to relocate parts of its business to Dublin and Barclays is reportedly planning to bulk up its Irish offices.

Japanese banks including Daiwa and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) have announced plans for subsidiaries in Frankfurt, while Standard Chartered confirmed in May that it had contacted the local regulator about setting up its own subsidiary in the German city, where it already has a presence.

The report said that 11 firms have turned to Luxembourg - which has already attracted a number of insurers including RSA, AIG and Hiscox - including six wealth and asset management firms.

In total, 23 major banks, asset managers and insurers have now established or bolstered their EU subsidiaries in reaction to Brexit, up from 18 back in March.

Commenting on the findings, Omar Ali, EY's UK financial services leader, said: "The difference three months on from the triggering of Article 50 is that we are seeing major financial brands put their contingency plans into action - over a quarter of the companies we track have suggested there will be potential changes to their London base as a result of Brexit.

"This process will only accelerate as firms finalise their submissions to the regulators on their Brexit plans."

Frankfurt and Dublin tie for first place among investment banks intending to move as a result of Brexit, followed by Paris.

France has so far attracted HSBC, which already has a full service universal bank in the country, and is now on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London office.

The report noted that 22 investment banks in total have indicated plans to shift operations.

JP Morgan has chosen multiple destinations for its post-Brexit operations, having announced plans to move up to 1,000 London jobs to offices in Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin in the coming months.

EY said 15 of the firms it tracked have yet to reveal a location despite suggesting plans to move staff or shift operations, while 68% of companies monitored have remained tight lipped about the impact that Brexit could have on its European operations.

But Mr Ali warned that the dispersion of financial services across the EU would ultimately harm the industry.

"The variety of locations being announced highlights that no one European centre is emerging as a compelling alternative to London.

"However, these operational changes also highlight a real risk to European businesses and the wider economy, as the fragmentation of European financial services could increase costs and limit the breadth and depth of finance options for European corporates."

Press Association

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