November 29, 2019 / 7:59 AM / 13 days ago

National Australia Bank plans to set up unit in Paris ahead of Brexit

FILE PHOTO: The National Australia Bank Logo is seen on a branch in central Sydney, Australia, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz/File Photo

(Reuters) - National Australia Bank (NAB.AX) said on Friday it plans to set up a unit in Paris that would offer wholesale banking and investment services to much of Europe.

The move by Australia’s No. 3 lender follows similar decisions by other financial firms to create new hubs in the European Union due to Brexit.

“Our current operating model creates inconsistencies for clients who operate across European jurisdictions as we don’t have free access across the continent,” said a source familiar with NAB’s plans.

The source, who was not authorized to speak to media about the matter, declined to be identified.

The lender said it had submitted an application to French regulators to establish the unit.

It would be NAB’s first base in continental Europe. It has operations in Britain whose services span foreign exchange to project financing.

“Our Australian and New Zealand clients rely on our local knowledge and relationships to navigate the European market, so we’re continuing to respond to this need,” David Gall, chief customer officer of corporate and institutional banking, said in a statement.

“Investors are looking for opportunities, particularly in the infrastructure sector,” Gall said, adding that there were abut 140 Australian companies in France.

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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