July 21, 2017 / 1:27 PM / a month ago

Bank of America picks Dublin as EU base after Brexit

FILE PHOTO: A Bank of America logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017.Stephanie Keith/File Photo

LONDON/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Bank of America (BAC.N) on Friday became the first Wall Street lender to pick Dublin as its new base for its European Union operations as Britain prepares to leave the bloc.

International banks are planning to set up subsidiaries in the EU to ensure they can continue to serve clients if their London operations lose the ability to operate across the bloc once Britain leaves in March 2019.

Frankfurt and Dublin are emerging as early winners for banks' post-Brexit operations.

"Bank of America has operated in Ireland and engaged in the local community for almost 50 years," said Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO of Bank of America.

The bank did not say how many roles would be moved or created in the Irish capital, where it currently has over 700 staff and a fully licensed entity, but said that some roles would also move to other EU locations.

The Irish government, which has been keen to attract investment banks to Dublin, welcomed the news.

"This announcement...is a strong endorsement of Ireland's attractiveness as a location for investment, and of the government's approach to securing Brexit-related activities," Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said following the announcement and a meeting with Moynihan in Dublin on Friday.

Details of banks' Brexit arrangements are starting to emerge following a July 14 deadline for them to submit details of their contingency plans to the Bank of England.

Wall Street's Citigroup Inc. (C.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) have both picked Frankfurt as bases for their EU hubs, whilst Barclays (BARC.L) has said it is talking with regulators about extending its activities in Dublin.

Morgan Stanley is likely to spread some of its operations across the EU, with its asset management business expected to go to Dublin as well, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on July 19.

Bank of America is extending its existing lease on its building in Leopardstown, Dublin, according to the Irish Times. The newspaper also reported the bank was in talks on two other office spaces in the city that would be able to accommodate up to 1,000 employees, giving it the flexibility to add up to 300 additional staff.

Reporting By Anjuli Davies; Editing by Rachel Armstrong/Keith Weir

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