(Reuters) - Global banks have warned they could move thousands of jobs out of Britain to prepare for the expected disruption caused by the country’s exit from the European Union, endangering London’s status as a major financial centre.
Financial services firms need a regulated subsidiary in an EU country to offer their products across the bloc, and this could lead some to move jobs out of Britain if it loses access to the European single market.
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BNP Paribas may move up to 300 London investment bank staff due to Britain’s European Union exit, depending on how clients adapt and on the French bank’s efforts to win new UK business, a source said.
The firm had 3,123 staff in its corporate and institutional bank in Britain at end-2016, down from 3,294 a year earlier, internal documents seen by Reuters showed.
Credit Agricole, France’s third-biggest listed bank, could relocate about 100 employees from its London hub to France out of 1,000 based there in the case of a “hard” Brexit from the EU, its chief executive said.
Standard Chartered is in talks with regulators about making Frankfurt its European base to secure market access to the European Union when Britain leaves the bloc.
Stuart Gulliver, CEO of HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, said it would relocate staff responsible for generating around a fifth of its UK-based trading revenue, or around 1,000 people, to Paris.
Chairman Douglas Flint has told lawmakers that banks without operations elsewhere in the EU will likely trigger migration plans immediately after EU divorce talks begin, estimating “tens of thousands” of jobs are linked to EU “passporting” rights.
Banks in Britain will start shifting some operations to continental Europe reasonably soon to avoid disrupting links with customers after Brexit, Barclays Chief Executive Jes Staley said.
He added that obtaining a licence to trade on the continent and changing financial contracts to another jurisdiction took a year to 18 months.
The bank is preparing to make Dublin its EU headquarters after Brexit, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Staley previously told BBC Radio that Barclays would keep the bulk of its activities in Britain after Brexit and any changes to how the bank operates would be small and manageable.
Swiss bank UBS would have to “move 1,500 people” from London to an EU destination in order to retain full passporting rights across the EU, according to UBS chairman Axel Weber. That would be more than a quarter of its current 5,500 staff in London.
Separately, Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti has said UBS has a degree of flexibility if its UK outpost looks set to lose its ability to operate across the EU.
The world’s biggest wealth manager has also set up a bank in Frankfurt to consolidate most of its European wealth management operations, after the Brexit vote dashed London’s chances of being the host city.
Credit Suisse’s Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said in September his bank was relatively well placed to deal with the impact of Brexit and that only around 15-20 percent of volumes in the investment bank would be impacted.
Lloyds Banking Group, Britain’s largest mortgage lender and the only major British retail bank without a subsidiary in another EU country, is close to selecting Berlin as a European base to secure market access to the EU after Britain withdraws.
U.S. bank Goldman Sachs is considering moving up to 1,000 staff from London to Frankfurt because of concerns over Brexit, Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper reported in January, citing financial sources.
Goldman Sachs will begin moving hundreds of people out of London before any Brexit deal is struck as part of its contingency plans, the Wall Street firm’s Europe CEO said in March.
Three people familiar with the matter told Reuters in November that Goldman Sachs was considering shifting some of its assets and operations from London to Frankfurt.
U.S. bank Morgan Stanley has identified many of the roles that will need to be moved from Britain after Brexit, sources involved in the processes told Reuters.
Morgan Stanley, which bases the bulk of its European staff in Britain, will have to move up to 1,000 jobs in sales and trading, risk management, legal and compliance, as well as slimming the back office in favour of locations overseas, one source told Reuters.
Morgan Stanley may initially shift 300 staff from Britain following its exit from the EU, and is scouting for office space in Frankfurt and Dublin, Bloomberg News reported in February.
Citigroup, which has also identified roles that will need to be moved out of the UK and has a large banking unit in Dublin, will need to move 100 posts in its sales and trading business, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Separately, Citigroup’s European chief said the U.S. bank would make a decision on its Brexit contingency plans in the first half of the year and choose from a number of potential EU countries to relocate some investment banking business.
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to buy a Dublin building with room for 1,000 staff in the first sign of a financial services company expanding significantly in Ireland since the government began a major campaign to attract firms after Brexit.
However, the bank, which currently employs around 500 people in Dublin, did not say how many jobs would be created or whether any positions would be moved from the United Kingdom.
Daniel Pinto, head of investment banking at the Wall Street firm, had told Bloomberg on May 3 that the firm planned to move hundreds of London-based bankers to expanded offices in Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.
CEO Jamie Dimon had previously said the bank was not planning to move many jobs out of Britain in the next two years.
Before the vote, Dimon said the bank would be forced to move 4,000 of its 16,000 staff currently based in Britain if the country loses access to the single market.
Bank of America Corp said in August its businesses and results could be adversely affected and it may have to incur additional costs if Brexit limited the ability of its UK entities to conduct business in the EU.
Dublin is Bank of America’s default option for a new base within the EU, but other centres are on the table and no decision has yet been made, an executive said in Germany on March 14.
Deutsche Bank warned on April 26 up to 4,000 UK jobs could be moved to Frankfurt and other locations in the EU as a result of Brexit - the highest potential move of any bank.
Settlement bank Euroclear is looking at the option of setting up a branch or subsidiary to provide a route between its UK and Irish markets following Brexit, the head of its UK and Irish operation said.
Daiwa Securities Group Inc, Japan’s No. 2 brokerage firm, may decide as early as mid-June to move dozens of London-based staff to Frankfurt or another European city, ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU, Chief Executive Seiji Nakata said.
The German city is Daiwa’s favoured destination, as London-based staff can easily be transferred to its investment banking branch in Frankfurt, Nakata said.
Daiwa said it would keep staff in London even after Brexit, but declined to say how many. It currently employs around 450 people in the EU, mostly in the British capital.
Britain’s planned departure from the European Union opens the door for a UK-Swiss deal covering financial services, said Boris Collardi, chief executive at Julius Baer, Switzerland’s third-biggest private bank.
Compiled by Noor Zainab Hussain and Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely