Minister says Frankfurt ‘number one’ for bank relocations

Frankfurt is currently the most desirable location for banks considering relocation as a result of Brexit, according to the economic minister for the central German state of Hesse.

Frankfurt financial skyline during daytime
To date, 18 banks and financial service companies have opted to establish European hubs in Frankfurt after Brexit, according to the area’s economy minister.

Post-Brexit bank relocation still up for grabs

Tarek Al-Wazir, economy minister for the state of Hesse, said that, with about 60 other firms with London headquarters yet to decide on establishing hubs in the EU after the UK has left the bloc, he was confident more would be attracted to Frankfurt.Many London firms in the sector are looking at relocating some staff to European hubs after Brexit amid fears that the UK will lose the ‘passporting rights’ that currently enable them to operate freely throughout the EU.The Independent reported that, during a trip to London, Mr Al-Wazir said, “There will be other entities who are in the decision process now, so we’re in contact with some of them – of course, we’re not able to say who they are - but at the end, if you compare everything that happened since the Brexit referendum and if you compare the real decisions made, I think we are number one on the continent and I’m sure this will continue.”
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Hubertus Väeth, managing director of the lobby group Frankfurt Main Finance, added, “We did some research in the beginning showing that 100 institutions will have to make up their minds. We know, as of today, that just about 40 have made their decisions public and there are a few who are just about to make their decisions. So there are still 60 up for grabs.”Mr Väeth, who accompanied the minister on his sixth trip to London since the Brexit referendum, said that many of 60 were smaller companies such as prime brokerages and corporate treasury centres (CPCs), which serve as the in-house banks of multinational corporations.

Job creation in Frankfurt's financial sector

Officials in Frankfurt estimate that the bank moves so far announced will lead to the relocation or creation of up to 5,000 jobs in the city.“But that does not mean that the German city will replace London as the financial capital of the European Union”, said Stefan Winter, the head of the Association of the Foreign Banks in Germany. “Rather, banks will distribute their operations to more places in the bloc after the UK leaves.”While the firms yet to announce moves might not be as well known as the major international banks, Mr Al-Wazir said there was still intense rivalry to attract them among continental cities. “The competition is still there and maybe the competition is even increasing, but at the end the outcome is good for us,” he said.Mr Al-Wazir maintained that impending changes to German labour laws would make Frankfurt an even more attractive destination and, though he admitted he was “a little bit disappointed” that Paris had been chosen as the new home of the European Banking Authority when it leaves London, he felt any competitive edge it would give the French capital was limited.He claimed the fact the headquarters of the European Central Bank was in Frankfurt was “far more relevant” to financial firms eyeing a shift from London.The minister said he was inviting London firms to visit Frankfurt to see what the city had to offer. “We have many people visiting us, because at the end if you’re opening something, it won’t help you if we are always here (in London) - you have to see it yourself.“So I think our main work is to welcome people and to show them around... get them to know the right people.”For related news and features, visit our Brexit section. Find out more about our upcoming Relocate AwardsRelocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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