JPMorgan to move staff to EU offices on Brexit fears

JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon had told UK employees they could be relocated in the event of Brexit.
JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon had told UK employees they could be relocated in the event of Brexit.PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI • JPMorgan Chase plans to move hundreds of London-based bankers to expanded offices in Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg as it prepares for the United Kingdom to lose easy access to the European Union's single market after Brexit, the firm's head of investment banking said.

"We are going to use the three banks we already have in Europe as the anchors for our operations," Mr Daniel Pinto said on Tuesday. "We will have to move hundreds of people in the short term to be ready for day one, when negotiations finish."

Global banks are preparing to move some London-based operations into new or expanded bases into the EU after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the formal mechanism for quitting the 28-nation bloc.

Before the June referendum, JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon told UK employees that as many as 4,000 could be relocated in the event of Brexit. In January, he said that number could be higher - or lower - depending on how the government's negotiations played out.

"We have to plan for a scenario where there is no UK-EU passporting deal, and we have to move a substantial portion of our business to continue serving our European clients," Mr Pinto said.

JPMorgan is just the latest bank to flesh out its plans for Brexit as the countdown ticks away toward Britain's March 2019 withdrawal from the bloc. Deutsche Bank said last week it may move 4,000 staff from London, Barclays said it will activate its contingency plan within six months and Goldman Sachs Group said it would likely begin relocating positions next year.

Frankfurt and Dublin are the favoured destinations. Standard Chartered and Barclays are considering the Irish capital for their EU base, while Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are weighing Germany's financial hub.

Luxembourg is proving popular with insurers and asset managers, with insurance giant American International Group saying on March 8 that it plans to open an operation there.

JPMorgan is already scouting for office space in Dublin and Frankfurt, Bloomberg News reported in March. The lender may lease 50,000 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft of space, and wants flexibility from landlords to shrink or expand, depending on the deal Mrs May secures.

London could lose 10,000 banking jobs and a further 20,000 roles in financial services, according to the Bruegel think tank, while other estimates range from as little as 4,000 to as many as 232,000 jobs.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2017, with the headline 'JPMorgan to move staff to EU offices on Brexit fears'. Print Edition | Subscribe