Comments spark fresh concerns for London’s future as EU’s finance hub

Comments emerging from a European banking conference taking place in Paris over the last two days have sparked fresh concerns about whether London will be able to retain its current position as Europe’s top financial centre once the UK leaves the EU.

Major media organisations, including the BBC and Financial Times, carried reports last night and this morning in which JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon is quoted as saying his bank could have no choice but to move even more than the “several hundred” of its 16,000 UK staff it has already said it plans to relocate to the continent once Brexit has taken place.

“If the EU determines over time that they want to move a lot of jobs out of London into the EU, they can simply dictate that,” the FT quotes him as telling the gathering of European financial services executives and politicians yesterday.

“If regulators say one day we’re not comfortable with your risk people, your lawyers, your compliance being in the UK, they can make us move it.”

The event at which Diamon and the others made their comments had been organised by Paris Europlace, which, the FT noted, is lobbying for international banks to move their businesses to France.

In its report, in addition to quoting Dimon as warning that the EU rather than London would control the City of London’s destiny post-Brexit, the BBC cited various measures that the French authorities are introducing in their efforts to attract London financial services companies: “Lower personal and corporate taxes, making it easier to hire and fire, English law courts conducted in English, and three brand new English-speaking schools”.

“Under new President Emmanuel Macron, it seems France means business with its pro-banker message, and as Jamie Dimon said today, his ears are wide open,” BBC business editor Simon Jack added.

On Tuesday, the Financial Times quoted France’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, as saying in an interview that France was considering “introducing tax breaks for the wealthy as soon as next year to attract more entrepreneurs and investors”.

The two-day Paris Europlace event ends today.

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