Amsterdam, Madrid or Frankfurt? Where are London’s Investment Bankers off to?

The Swiss bank firm UBS has been asking staff where they would like to relocate to after Britain finally leaves the EU. In a survey sent to the company’s investment bankers last week, they offered Amsterdam, Madrid or Frankfurt as possible locations.

Though it’s not just a change of scenery that UBS are looking for. Financial services companies need a regulated subsidiary in an EU country in order to offer their services to union countries. This means that some companies are eyeing up a move out of Britain if access to the single market is lost, and in preparation for any other complications that Brexit negotiations might throw up.

Having said that they were considering moving some of their jobs out of London in July, UBS has estimated that it would need to move over a thousand people from the capital and into the EU, in order to keep ‘passporting rights’ to provide their services to EU nations. This is roughly a quarter of all of its staff based in London.

The voluntary survey was sent on Tuesday 17th and asked respondents to rank their preferred destination from 1st to 3rd out of either Amsterdam, Madrid or Frankfurt.

Many global banking companies have already decided where they are moving, keen to get ahead of the tides of Brexit. With many banks moving their operations to Frankfurt; Dublin, Paris and Warsaw have also attracted some of the largest players.

The head of investment banking at UBS, Andrea Orcel told reporters in September that staff preference would be the biggest factor for relocation. “The key issues are going to be residential and schooling … that will be a challenge for any location,” he said.

By choosing a location that staff are happy to go to, they also hope to reduce staff attrition and the costs of hiring the right talent.

This news comes just after the PM, Theresa May, has stated that Brexit talks are in difficulty, with very little movement.

Adding to May’s woes, Goldman Sachs CEO LLoyd Blankfein seemed to suggest in a tweet last week that the banking giant could be pulling yet more staff out of London and taking them over to Frankfurt:

“Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I’ll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit” He wrote.

Speaking on negotiations, the PM is quoted as saying, “There is increasingly a sense that we must work together to get to an outcome we can stand behind and defend to our people.” Adding that when the 27 remaining member states convene tomorrow to discuss Brexit in private, “the clear and urgent imperative must be that the dynamic you create enables us to move forward together”.

When questioned on possible reports emerging from Britain last week, that Brexit talks could be halted or even abandoned, Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that such suggestions were completely ‘absurd’.

So it’s clear that we’re going forwards. Businesses are preparing to leave London. But there still doesn’t seem to be any plan in place. Good news, hey?

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