Lloyds ‘heading for Berlin’ in post-Brexit move

Lloyds Banking Group has chosen Berlin as its post-Brexit European base, according to media reports.

Lloyds Bank Group – the only major British lender without a licensed subsidiary in the EU – chose Berlin after considering Amsterdam and Dublin as potential sites for an office to circumvent difficulties posed by the possibility that the UK will lose its ‘passporting rights’ to trade freely throughout Europe after it leaves the bloc.Significantly, the choice of Berlin is the latest evidence that no single European city will emerge as a hub to rival London after Brexit, despite concerted campaigns by several to woo banks and related financial services to their shores.

European headquarters

While all the institutions are expected to retain London as the base for their core activities, HSBC has opted for Paris as its EU headquarters, Lloyds of London is to open an office in Brussels, Standard Chartered is eyeing Dublin and Goldman Sachs is heading for Frankfurt.Lloyds have so declined to officially confirm the choice of Berlin, where it already has a branch employing 300 people. The licensing of an EU subsidiary there is unlikely to prompt the movement of many staff from London to Germany.The Daily Telegraph reported that Lloyds hoped to submit an application to German financial regulator BaFin to change the status of the Berlin branch by the end of September.
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Promoting cross-market access

Meanwhile, the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), launched its new business plan on Tuesday, which made a priority of getting cross-market access for the financial sector when Britain leaves the EU.The plan also included proposals to keep London open to foreign talent after Brexit and create a new regime of international cooperation among regulatory authorities.Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive, said the plan was intended to minimise disruption for financial services. “The UK’s decision to leave the European Union creates uncertainty for both the UK’s financial industry and the FCA,” he said.“Both we and the government are keen to ensure that the financial services industry remains resilient and well placed to meet users’ needs and thus make the most of opportunities in a post-Brexit world.“Leaving the EU inevitably creates a higher risk of disruption to our business plan priorities. So it is particularly important that we retain the flexibility to respond swiftly should we need to review them further.”Mr Bailey said the FCA intended to put “consumer vulnerability and access to financial services” at the heart of its domestic mission.For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

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