Over a third of UK firms relocating ops and staff on Brexit fears

Over a third of the UK’s largest financial services firms have either relocated staff or operations to continental Europe or are planning to do so, according to EY’s quarterly Brexit Tracker survey.

The proportion of 36% (80 out of the 222 firms surveyed) is a rise from 31% one year ago, but the figure rises to 56% (27 out of 48) among universal and investment banks and brokerages.

This compares with 44% (25 out of 57) of wealth and asset managers and 42% (16 out of 38) of insurers and insurance brokers.

With less than 12 weeks before the UK leaves the European Union, possibly without any kind of deal of deal to govern trade from March 29, the heightened uncertainty has, according to the survey, driven financial services companies to move almost £800 billion (€891 billion) of assets to one of the EU27 member states.

Since the UK’s referendum decision to leave the UK in June 2016, around 2,000 positions have been filled locally in the EU27 by financial services companies in response to Brexit – with Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris the most popular locations.

Omar Ali, UK financial services leader at EY, said: “In anticipation of the parliamentary vote in January, the City will be watching closely to see if the proposed Brexit deal will be accepted or whether it’s back to the drawing board for the UK government.

“As things stand financial services firms have no choice but to continue preparing on the basis of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

“The closer we get to 29 March without a deal, the more assets will be transferred and headcount hired locally or relocated.”

©2019 funds europe

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