While Britain braces for its exit from the EU in March 2019, HSBC announced that seven of its Europe-focused offices will move from London to Paris early next year.
These seven offices are responsible for the bank’s activities in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland. They will be transferred from HSBC Bank, the company’s London-based subsidiary, to its Paris-based counterpart HSBC France, the bank’s french subsidiary revealed in a statement.
Without explicitly mentioning Brexit, HSBC’s statement says that it is “adjusting its activities” in light of “political and regulatory developments in Europe”.
HSBC has not yet begun transferring any of the up to 1,000 staff it has said could ultimately move to its French unit from Britain, chief executive John Flint told Reuters.
The transfer will take place at the end of the first quarter of 2019, just before the UK leaves the EU in March.
While the HSBC branches and subsidiaries will still ultimately all be owned by its umbrella entity HSBC Holdings, the move is significant in showing the bank pressing on with Brexit contingency plans.
More companies are moving part of their operations to Europe amid mounting concerns about the nature of the UK’s Brexit settlement, as reported by International Investment.
HSBC executives have since the Brexit vote in June 2016 maintained that the bank will be among the last to have to make such moves because it has a fully-licensed French banking subsidiary rather than branches that other banks have had to convert.
Theresa May has ruled out keeping the UK in the single market, meaning that banks will use their European financial passports, which allow them to offer their services throughout the European Economic Area.