September 17, 2018 / 3:59 PM / a month ago

Portugal eases registrations for asset managers as Brexit looms

LISBON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Portugal launched a bid on Monday to attract asset managers away from Britain ahead of its exit from the European Union next year, with regulators announcing they are simplifying the process for the firms to register in the country.

In a presentation, the central bank and CMVM stock market regulator said they “are determined to make Portugal an appealing option” for investment managers, promising to streamline authorisations for firms that want to move to Lisbon.

Among the changes, the regulators said applications would be approved more quickly, firms would deal with a single point of contact, and support will be offered in English to asset managers that want to move.

Approvals will be given in up to six months.

“The objective is to create the necessary conditions for firms that want to move to Portugal, within the context of the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU, so that they have clear and easy information to do so,” said Helder Rosalino, an administrator at the central bank.

Britain is the world’s second largest asset management hub, with fund assets reaching 9.1 trillion pounds ($11.96 trillion) last year, managed chiefly from London and Edinburgh.

Portugal is already trying to attract wealthy Britons who want to move after Brexit and has established a special office to make it easier to make real estate and other corporate investments.

It also offers so-called ‘golden visas’ to foreigners who want to gain residency through house purchases of 500,000 euros.

But it has been slow compared to places like Frankfurt and Paris in grabbing a slice of London’s financial services industry. ($1 = 0.7607 pounds) (Reporting by Axel Bugge; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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