More finance firms committed to Brexit relocations

Contingency plans to relocate staff to European hubs down by 2,000 on last year’s estimates. The latest research coincides with an open letter from Theresa May to encourage EU expats to stay.

Finance firms job relocations
The latest survey of financial services firms in London forecasts 10,500 jobs will have relocated abroad by the time the UK leaves the EU – a fall from the total being proposed this time last year although the number of companies publicly committed to moving staff has increased.The EY ‘Brexit Tracker’ was published as Prime Minister Theresa May issued an open letter to the three million-plus EU expats living in Britain, saying she wanted them to stay after the nation leaves the bloc.

Financial firms confirm relocation plans

Based on a monitor of 222 financial services firms in the City, the tracker found that 26 of them had now declared an intention to move staff abroad, up from 12 in last December’s report. In all, 68 firms have either publicly confirmed plans to move staff or have said they are actively considering it.However, the tally of actual posts confirmed as being relocated to new European hubs under contingency plans was down from last year’s estimate of 12,500 to 10,500 now.Omar Ali, EY’s UK financial services leader, said, “Contingency plans have developed significantly over the last year, putting firms in a stronger position to estimate how many UK jobs they need to move.“Firms are working hard to find viable solutions that will allow them to continue to serve their customers and satisfy regulators with the minimum disruption. As a result, many of the jobs that are moving are client facing, ‘front office’ roles to ensure that companies can continue to serve their clients under EU law from day one.”But Mr Ali added that the agreement reached between the UK and the remaining 27 EU members on plans for a transitional deal had “sent a wave of relief across the City”.
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Sir Mark Boleat, former chairman of the City of London Corporation, commented, “This research confirms what everyone in British business knows – that not only is Brexit damaging our economy now, but it will get far worse once we leave.“Some financial services can only be provided in Europe by institutions based in countries in the Single Market. That’s just the rules. The government’s decision to take Britain out of the single market will force firms to move jobs away from the UK to continental Europe.”

Increasing certainties for EU expats

Meanwhile, Mrs May’s open letter said that she hoped last week’s provisional deal on the rights of EU nationals to remain in the UK would remove the “underlying anxieties” among European expats over Brexit.“I greatly value the depth of the contributions you make – enriching every part of our economy, our society, our culture and our national life. I know our country would be poorer if you left and I want you to stay,” she said.She assured EU citizens that their rights would be written into UK law through a Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill and that there would be a “transparent, smooth and streamlined” process to apply for settled status from the second half of 2018.“So right now, you do not have to do anything at all. You can look forward, safe in the knowledge that there is now a detailed agreement on the table in which the UK and the EU have set out how we intend to preserve your rights – as well as the rights of UK nationals living in EU countries,” wrote Mrs May.“For we have ensured that these negotiations put people first. That is what I promised to do and that is what I will continue to do at every stage of this process.”
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