Brexit: Relocating? Let me call my cousin
The one-year anniversary of the UK vote to leave the European Union is fast approaching and still most banks clustered in London haven’t disclosed plans to relocate staff to deal with EU clients, senior management to answer to regulators, or even any support staff.
They all know they have to; they all know they can’t wait until the outline of future trade relations is sketched; they all have project teams that have been weighing possible locations for months.
Why the delay?
One consultant working with many of the big non-UK banks based in London offers Euromoney an explanation.
“Many of the banks already have subsidiaries, branches, legal entities and associated licenses in various EU states that have accumulated through a long history of business build-ups and withdrawals including mergers and acquisition but that don’t actually match up well with the regulated activities they now want to conduct in Europe.
"By now, the project teams at all the banks have looked at this; the European authorities in the various countries competing to host them have been offering easy initial deals to entice them and the project teams all think they’ve come up with the right answers.
“But here’s the thing: most of these big financial institutions have European boards of directors that the project teams are now presenting their findings to.
"So, you have the team at the US bank convinced that Frankfurt is the right answer, but their Spanish director is saying: ‘No, no, you haven’t considered Madrid.