JP Morgan chief welcomes UK ‘Brexit clarity’

US bank JP Morgan has welcomed the “better clarity” that it says it now has on the UK government’s handling of Brexit after a private meeting with  British prime minister Theresa May.

JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond were in the meeting. Also present with Dimon, pictured left, at the briefing, which  took place in London yesterday as May awaited the return from Kenya of now-ex-minister for overseas development Priti Patel, was Daniel Pinto, London-based chief executive of JP Morgan’s investment bank.

“We appreciated hearing from the prime minister and her time today,” JP Morgan said in a statement later in the day.

“While some uncertainty remains, we feel that the government understands the concerns of international firms such as ours, and the economy more broadly. We were grateful for better clarity on the government’s objectives in the Brexit negotiations.”

This will be seen as some welcome positive, or at least, not negative, reaction by a global City-based financial services company by the pro-Brexit wing of the beleaguered government.

The past week alone has seen two ministerial ‘resignations’, forced by the pressure of public opinion and widely seen as sackings in all but name.

In contrast to other banks who plan to ease back on London

JP Morgan’s apparent open-mindedness over Brexit stands in contrast to a number of high-profile companies said to be moving all or part of their European operations out of London post-Brexit.

These include Deutsche Bank, which as reported by International Investment is preparing to move vast parts of its London operation back to Frankfurt, leading to the loss of some 20,000 client accounts in the UK and a concomitant loss of several hundred traders’ jobs.

Speaking earlier this year, Deutsche Banks’s chief regulatory officer Sylvie Matherat, pictured left, said: “For front office people, if you want to deal with an EU client, you need to be based in the EU. Does it mean I have to move all the front office people to Germany or not? We’re speaking of 2,000 people.

“We really need clarity. We are the largest bank branch operating in the UK. We do have something like 9,000 people there, so I mean they [staff] do have real questions [including] where do I register my children for in the next two years at school? I mean, that is a very concrete question.”

Barclays said in a statement earlier this year that it intends to take “necessary steps to preserve ongoing market access for our customers”, stating that it plans to expand the scope and ambit of an Irish subsidiary to ensure that a large proportion of its business will be Dublin-based and hence will remain within the EU.

And Goldman Sachs has made no secret of its intention to move a large part of its operation back to Frankfurt, with International Investment reporting last month that the bank had taken out a lease on office space in a new tower block under construction in Frankfurt for as many as 1,000 employees.

During yesterday’s meeting, Dimon is said to have warned May that Paris in particular was redoubling its efforts to lure banks away from London to the French capital to run their European operations post-Brexit.




Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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