Financial Times Survey: Banks' Brexit Relocations By March 2019 Much Lower Than Feared

In the run-up to the recent agreement on phase I of Brexit, there was mixed news on the extent to which jobs in the City of London would be relocated to other European hubs, primarily Frankfurt. On one hand, we discussed the meeting between US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, and executives of JPM, Goldman, HSBC and other banks at Wilton’s restaurant during his trip to London in early November. The banks warned that they were close to a “point of no return” on moving jobs.





A group of large financial institutions with big London operations, led by Wall Street’s pre-eminent banks, have told the US commerce secretary that Britain’s unstable government and slow progress in Brexit planning may force them to start moving thousands of jobs out of City in the near future. The warnings came on Friday during a closed-door meeting between executives from the banks, which included JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and HSBC, and Wilbur Ross during the US commerce secretary’s visit to London, according to people briefed on the discussions.




A week earlier, we reported the head of Swiss bank, UBS, saying that the possibility that a fifth of its 5,000-strong UK workforce would be shifted was now unlikely to materialise following some “regulatory and political clarification about what we need to do”.
 
We can now, thanks to a survey by the Financial Times, get a better idea of the likely London exodus by March 2019 after the newspaper reviewed public statements by fifteen of the UK’s biggest financial institutions and conducted interviews with more than a dozen executives about Brexit plans. According to the newspaper, the number is…





The UK’s biggest international banks are set to move fewer than 4,600 jobs from London in preparation for Brexit — just 6 per cent of their total workforce in the financial centre — according to Financial Times research.


 


The FT analysis contrasts with consultants’ original claims that tens of thousands of jobs could move from London after Brexit — including an EY study this week that claimed 10,500 could leave on “day one”.






Some bankers say the lower estimates emerged as they thought through how many jobs and operations would need to move to the EU if the UK loses access to the bloc’s single market. “Every city wants thousands of people, but what are they going to do?” said one senior executive at a large US institution, adding that the thousands of people sitting in his London office “cover clients” who will mostly be remaining in the UK.



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