Citigroup to invest in London, hire staff despite Brexit: Financial Times

A view of the exterior of the Citibank corporate headquarters in New York, US on May 20, 2015.
A view of the exterior of the Citibank corporate headquarters in New York, US on May 20, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Wall Street bank Citigroup Inc will set up an innovation centre in London in one of the first investments by a big US bank since Brexit, the Financial Times reported on Sunday (Feb 11).

Citi will initially hire 60 technologists for the centre, James Cowles, chief executive for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), told the FT.

The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

The centre in London will also house the EMEA unit of Citi ventures and employees from across the company's businesses, in a boost for Britain's financial services sector ahead of Brexit, the FT reported.

European Commission officials rejected the City of London's proposal to strike a post-Brexit free-trade deal on financial services, a major blow to Britain's hopes of keeping full access to EU markets for one of the world's top two financial centres.

Britain is currently home to the world's largest number of banks and hosts the largest commercial insurance market. About 6 trillion euros (S$9.8trillion), or 37 per cent, of Europe's financial assets are managed in the British capital, almost twice the amount of its nearest rival, Paris.

JPMorgan Chase & Co said earlier this month that it could move more than 4,000 jobs out of Britain if Brexit talks result in a divergence of regulations and trade agreements between Britain and the European Union.

In the short term, the bank will move between 500 and 1,000 jobs after Britain's formal exit from the EU, scheduled for March 29, 2019.

About 10,000 finance jobs will be shifted out of Britain or created overseas in the next few years if it is denied access to Europe's single market, a Reuters survey in September found.