Tenth of companies eyeing some post-Brexit relocation

Ten per cent of some of the UK's biggest companies are considering moving some of their business activities to the continent because of the vote to leave the European Union, according to a poll published on Monday.

10% of companies eye post-Brexit relocation
While the Ipsos Mori survey, which included interviews with 114 senior executives from FTSE 500 companies, found that 96 per cent of the executives were confident their organisations could successfully adapt to a post-Brexit world, one in 10 said they were taking action to relocate some of their operations outside the UK.Asked for their priorities in the Brexit negotiations, 54 per cent put securing the movement of labour and access to skilled labour at the top of the list, while 47 per cent prioritised securing a free trade deal or retaining membership of the single market.

Brexit impact on businesses

The survey also showed that 58 per cent considered the referendum outcome had had a negative impact on their businesses, compared to 31 per cent who felt it had made no difference. Only 11 per cent thought it had had a positive impact.And while two-thirds of respondents felt their companies' fortunes would worsen over the coming year, a third thought Brexit would improve the situation after five years. However, half expressed doubts about the government's ability to negotiate the best possible deal with the rest of the EU.Publication of the poll came as French authorities arrived in London to stage a roadshow aimed at luring financial sector jobs to Paris, rather than Frankfurt, when the UK leaves the EU.Valérie Pécresse, a former government minister and now head of the wider Paris region, and Gerard Mestrallet, president of France's finance industry lobby Europlace, met with executives from BlackRock, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and others to present a study by McKinsey, aimed at highlighting the attractions of Paris.

Loss of 'passporting rights'

Interviewed by BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday morning, Ms Pécresse, president of Ile-de-France, said financial firms would have to consider moving some operations to the continent because Brexit would probably result in the UK sector losing the 'passporting rights' than currently enable it to operate freely throughout Europe.She said “fierce competition” was opening up between Europe's cities – particularly Paris and Frankfurt – as they tempted to lure business from the City of London.Ms Pécresse said Paris was Europe's largest financial centre outside London and claimed it offered a better quality of life. She added: “We (Paris) are a very stable choice. We are very near London - we are very close.“You chose to be outside the European Union. It's a long, long process to go out of the European Union but, in the end, most likely, London will lose the financial passport. If it loses the financial passport some of the London firms will have an interest to go to a country of the European Union.“The market is in Europe, the clients are in Europe, the tech is in Paris, the quality of life is in Paris.”
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HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, has already said it is gearing up to move 1,000 jobs from London to Paris, where it already has a substantial subsidiary that holds most of the licences needed by an investment bank.For their part, the Germans are stepping up their own charm offensive with the nation's senior regulators last week meeting some 50 representatives from foreign banks with London bases, to explain how they could move business to Europe's biggest economy in the post-Brexit era.

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