The capital remains the most popular destination for the establishment of new EU offices, with 36 financial services firms announcing intentions to relocate UK operations there. The movement of financial services firms out of the UK in search of an EU base in the aftermath of Brexit has stabilised, but Dublin remains the most popular destination for establishing EU offices, research shows. New data from EY shows the number of financial services firms moving from the UK to the EU as a result of Brexit, or planning to do so, has flattened out in the past 12 months.
Since the Brexit referendum, 44% of the largest UK financial services firms have announced plans to move some UK operations and staff to the EU — a figure that nearly doubled between March 2017 and March 2021. Again, since the vote, 24 firms have publicly declared they will transfer just over £1.3trn of UK assets to the EU — a figure which has remained broadly flat over the past 18 months.
But, Dublin remains the most popular destination for the establishment of new EU offices, with 36 financial services firms announcing intentions to relocate UK operations to the capital. Luxembourg is the second most popular destination, while Paris scores highest when it comes to the movement of employees. “In the months following the referendum, financial firms voiced their intentions to bolster EU subsidiaries, move staff to the European Union and relocate headquarters in preparation for all possible scenarios,” said Fidelma Clarke, EY Ireland’s financial services Brexit lead. “The high number of potential job relocations reported in 2016 aligned with the uncertainty which surrounded the UK’s relationship with Europe at the time. As firms gained greater clarity on what the post-Brexit landscape would look like, plans were consolidated and, in some cases, firms revised down the number of people they would need to relocate,” she said.
Some companies that had feared losing access to the single market revised down the number of jobs they would need to relocate to the EU to serve client needs. The total number of announced Brexit-related job relocations from the UK to the EU has fallen to just above 7,000 in the last quarter, from 7,600 in March 2021, and 10,500 in March 2017 after Article 50 was triggered. There has also been an increase in the number of staff hired in London. “Most firms finalised the majority of operational moves well ahead of the 2020 Brexit deadline and were able to serve clients in the UK and EU without undue disruption," Ms Clarke said.
"While numbers have now stabilised, there will remain a degree of fluidity for some years to come; we expect operational moves across European financial markets to continue as firms navigate ongoing geo-political uncertainty, post-pandemic dynamics and regulatory requirements."
Source: The Irish Examiner - Geoff Percival