June 7, 2018 / 6:25 PM / 6 months ago

Bank of America raises planned Paris job moves before Brexit - sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of America (BAC.N) is looking to move more jobs than originally envisaged to its new Paris office, in what is expected to be one of the biggest such shifts from London ahead of Brexit, two sources familiar with the matter said.

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

A first wave of moves from London will begin early next year and will affect roughly 400 jobs in Bank of America’s markets, trading, sales and fixed income teams, the sources told Reuters.

Bank of America’s Chief Operating Officer Tom Montag said in November that about 200 people in sales and trading would move to the European Union and to Paris in particular.

But since then the overall number has risen and the U.S. firm now wanted to fill every desk in Paris, the sources said.

“It is an aggressive plan,” one told Reuters.

The Wall Street bank is refurbishing an 11,000 square metre office in the French capital to create a European trading hub that will serve clients once Britain leaves the EU in March.

One of the sources said the building has capacity for more than 700 people and that staff in London are being notified about their new base. A source close to the bank said it may sub-let some space, depending on the final Brexit deal.

PASSPORTING RIGHTS

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out retaining so-called passporting rights for financial services, but a Brexit deal is still up in the air and she is struggling to unite her party and government over a Brexit strategy.

Most investment banks are no longer willing to wait for clarity on their post-Brexit future and are taking steps to minimise disruption to their clients.

International banks are planning to build EU outposts to overcome losing passporting rights which enable them to offer financial, advisory and trading services to corporate clients across all EU states via one local licence.

In preparation, Bank of America is merging its London-based subsidiary with its Dublin-based Irish entity, which will become its main EU base.

Reuters previously reported that up to 125 roles will be shifted there in a first phase of moves, while a second phase was likely to involve Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker, has taken steps to lure finance jobs from London, easing labour rules, cutting a wealth tax to cover only real estate assets, introducing a flat 30 percent tax on capital income and scrapping the highest payroll tax for banks.

HSBC has picked Paris as its main European base, but it recently reduced its estimate for the number of jobs to be shifted from an initial forecast of 1,000.

A Reuters survey of 119 firms in March showed that the number of finance jobs to be shifted out of Britain or created overseas by March 2019 has halved from six months ago, to 5,000.

Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Alexander Smith

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