London’s loss is Europe’s gain as more firms relocate operations ahead of Brexit

More companies are moving part of their operations to Europe amid mounting concerns about the nature of the UK’s Brexit settlement. Bank of America is set to move 200 jobs to Paris, HSBC has a “contingency plan” and Scottish asset manager Baillie Gifford is to establish a Dublin arm to Brexit-proof its business.

The US bank is now relocating at least 200 research analysts from London to Paris, according to the Financial Times, having picked Dublin as its new EU headquarters in January this year.

As London’s future as a financial services centre after Brexit continues shrouded in uncertainty, HSBC chief executive John Flint said the bank has a “contingency plan” in the event of the UK exiting the European Union without a deal on financial services.

In its results for the first six months of 2018, the company said it has a “robust contingency plan” in the event the UK leaves the EU and “passporting” of financial services ends.

Baillie Gifford, the Scottish asset manager, unveiled its hand ahead of the March 2019 cut-off deadline. It is set to establish a Dublin offshoot to avoid being cut off from its growing number of European clients after the UK leaves the EU.

Baillie Gifford was also considering Luxembourg as a continental base, according to reports, although it settled on the Irish capital.

The move follows similar expansions in Dublin by the likes of Legal & General Investment Management, Standard Life Aberdeen and State Street Global Advisors.

Deutsche Bank has moved a large part of its euro clearing activity to Frankfurt from London in another sign of rival European cities seeking to divert business away from the City ahead of Brexit.

This was followed by Lloyds Banking Group announcement to run three separate subsidiaries in continental Europe after Brexit.

On Friday Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal is “uncomfortably high”, adding this would be “highly undesirable”.

The Square Mile could see up to 12,000 jobs lost in the short-term aftermath of Brexit with thousands more at stake longer term, the City of London Corporation has warned, as reported by International Investment.

Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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