Financial services firms have pressed pause on announcing any operational changes to their businesses as they wait to hear on the nature of post Brexit relationships, according to research from EY.
According to EY Financial Services's Brexit Tracker, which charts sentiment and movement of 222 firms in the UK financial sector in relation to Brexit, the proportion of firms saying they are considering or have confirmed relocating operations and/or staff to Europe has now stabilised at 41% (92 out of 222). This figure has only risen by one since July 2019, compared to an increase of 11 in the first half of 2019.
The silence on new operational announcements contrasts with an increase in companies making public calls for specific outcomes during the negotiations. Between March and August 2019, just two companies expressed concerns, but, between September and December, eight firms have voiced their position on the necessary steps they feel the Government should take to safeguard the UK's financial services sector post Brexit.
Although everyone has their parachute ready, the industry is still seeking the softest landing, with a strong future trading relationship that reduces the ripple effect on the economy"
Omar Ali, UK financial services leader at EY, said: "Our data suggests companies reached peak preparation in 2019 ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit. They have built the infrastructure they need on the continent to ensure they will be able to serve clients once Brexit happens - be that with or without a deal.
"But they are now waiting for clarity on the level of cross border access and alignment - if indeed any. Although everyone has their parachute ready, the industry is still seeking the softest landing, with a strong future trading relationship that reduces the ripple effect on the economy."
EY's data suggests the number of jobs that could relocate from London to the EU remains flat at around 7,000, underlining the capital's continued importance as a financial centre.
Since the referendum, 43 financial services firms have announced plans to make local hires for existing or newly created roles, equating to over 2,400 new jobs in the EU, with Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris and Luxembourg named as the main destinations. Since July 2019, around 250 local roles have been announced.