Banks drop 'hardball' approach to Brexit relocations

Banks take a more flexible approach with staff allowing commuting to EU hubs of Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris following Brexit.

Businesswoman waits at airport
Banks seeking to move London staff to European hubs because of Brexit are having to drop their previous "hardball" approach because of the reluctance of key personnel to permanently relocate, according to the Financial News.

Banks offer to compensate employees for cost of communting between UK and EU

At the end of last year, it was reported that US banks had warned London-based staff that they would not be paid to commute from the UK homes if their jobs moved. Instead, those affected were expected to settle themselves and their families in new homes in Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin or one of the other European cities where several hundred are poised to be moved in the coming months.But facing opposition to lock, stock and barrel relocations among staff, a number of lenders - including UBS, Nomura, BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Standard Chartered - are now offering to compensate employees for the cost of commuting between the EU and UK if workers agree to move abroad, according the Financial News.

Banks struggle to move staff to EU before Brexit

"The offers come as banks in London struggle to shift thousands of employees to Europe before the UK officially exits the bloc. UK-based lenders have until then to ensure their offices in cities such as Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin have enough staff to continue to serve European clients in the event of a no-deal Brexit," said the report."Other investment banks, including Citigroup, are instead giving staff the option to work from an EU city on a temporary basis only, under short-term, weeks-long secondments, according to one person with knowledge of the plans."Jenni Hibbert, global practice managing partner for financial services at recruitment company Heidrick & Struggles, said the commuter packages being offered to banking executives are “appealing to banks that otherwise might have to try to recruit new staff in (EU cities) where the necessary skills and experience could be hard to come by”.She added, “For bankers who’re used to long hours and travel, the additional commute is favourable to relocating their entire family."

Short term commuting seen as favourable to relocating families

Commuter packages, including paid-for flights, have been offered to senior, London-based banking staff on a time-limited basis, lasting between six months and two years from April 2019. Employees can then opt to remain in Europe permanently or shift back to London, according to Financial News.About 1,800 financial services jobs have already been confirmed as leaving London, according to research by the City of London Corporation. Catherine McGuinness, who chairs the policy and resources committee at the City of London Corporation, said it was still “early days” in terms of City businesses’ implementation of Brexit relocation plans.“Firms are watching closely to see if a way can be found through the current Brexit impasse and exploring options to relocate staff if necessary," she said.“This will play an important role in determining whether we see more jobs move to the continent after we leave the EU.”
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