Tuesday 23 January 2018

Investment banks to move staff when UK leaves Europe

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer, speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer, speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Photo: REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Two of the largest investment banks in the City of London have said they will move staff abroad when the UK leaves the European Union.

HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said he was preparing to move 1,000 staff from London to Paris, while Swiss bank UBS also confirmed some of its 5,000 London-based staff would also move to Frankfurt or Spain.

Mr Gulliver was speaking a day after British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit speech in which she said Britain would leave the single market.

Mrs May flew to Davos, Switzerland, last night ahead of a keynote address she will deliver at the World Economic Forum this morning. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will also address delegates.

Speaking to Bloomberg Television at the WEF, Mr Gulliver said staff would have to move as about 20pc of its revenue related to activities specifically covered by European financial rules. HSBC already has a presence in Europe, having acquired Credit Commercial de France in 2002.

Mr Gulliver, who has committed to keeping the bank's global and UK headquarters in Britain post-Brexit, said its position was different from rivals that would now seek to acquire EU banking licences.

"Some of our other fellow bankers have to make decisions pretty quickly now - given that the UK said it will come out of the single market - about applying for banking licences in some of the EU countries. We don't have to do that."

Andrea Orcel, president of UBS Investment Bank, also said staff will have to move out of London post-Brexit.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan will today begin a series of intensive bilateral meetings with a number of leading executives from the insurance, banking, telco, pharma and medical tech sectors.

Some 3,000 senior figures from the worlds of politics, business and the arts are gathering at Davos for the 47th annual WEF.

The IDA is also conducting a series of bilateral meetings and will tonight host a dinner for 50 Davos delegates and companies, including targeting companies it is seeking to lure to Ireland.

Speaking to the Irish Independent ahead of the dinner, IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said the key message to international investors at Davos was the stability of Ireland's economy and access to the European single market and talent pool in the wake of Brexit.

"The message we will be getting across to both [existing and new] investors is that Ireland continues to be an extremely attractive place to invest," Mr Shanahan said.

Ahead of the inauguration of US president-elect Donald Trump, the second day of the WEF heard that economic stresses and globalisation were leading to the "hollowing out" of the middle classes in advanced economies and had contributed to Brexit and the election of Mr Trump.

Outgoing US vice president Joe Biden told delegates that globalisation had not been an "unalloyed good" and called on Europe and the US to defend the liberal international order.

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said the middle class was growing in emerging economies but shrinking in advanced economies such as the US.

Irish Independent

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