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All abroad: UK based banks identify relocation hot spots post-Brexit

Luke MacGregor | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Several U.K. based banks are poised to announce at least part of their business operations are being moved from London to another European city, with countries on the continent scrambling to attract top financial officials.



London's lenders are reportedly meeting various supervisors to explore the pros and cons of moving parts of its business, or indeed headquarters, to other European cities. City banks are seeking to maintain their services throughout the bloc post-Brexit.

"It is tricky to know for sure how many jobs will move or whether it is just lenders putting political pressure on the government but I do expect banks to downsize as a result of (quitting London)," Claus Vistesen, chief Eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics told CNBC, in a phone interview on Wednesday.

"These types of things always invite businesses to assess their staffing levels and I expect more cost-cutting throughout the relocation process. It will be up to each individual bank to decide which city is most attractive for them though of course…" he added.

Banks are expected to finalize their decision in the first half of the year although the likelihood of one major European city securing the lion share of banking services from the U.K. is improbable, according to Andreas Dombret, a top official at Germany's central bank.

Netherlands - Amsterdam

The Dutch capital city has attracted an impressive array of technological companies including Netlfix, Tesla and Uber. Amsterdam can also boast European inter-connectivity as an attractive asset for banks looking to relocate.

However, the Netherlands could be disadvantaged by its cap of up to 20 percent on banker bonuses which is dramatically lower than the European Union's (EU) imposed limit of 100 percent.

Germany - Frankfurt

Frankfurt is relatively small in size with a reasonably unexciting reputation as a city yet Angela Merkel's financial powerhouse could be strengthened even further should lenders opt to move its business operations to Germany.

"Frankfurt is already somewhat of a financial hub with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the euro flows for example… so it could play a key role which could be emphasized even further," Vistesen said.

Ireland - Dublin

The obvious attraction for Dublin is the fact it is an English speaking city. Other European cities cannot offer the global language of business as its mother tongue and Vistesen argued this concept alone is a "big plus".

Despite the language plus point, limited transport links to the rest of the world and relatively high property prices in the city could prove too much of a barrier to city bankers.

Spain - Madrid

A unique selling point for Madrid and Spain as a potential hot spot for London lenders could be its access to emerging Latin American (Latam) economies.

However, overwhelmingly hot weather during the summer months and lackluster English-speaking skills in comparison to the rest of Europe may be problematic.

France - Paris

France has somewhat of a stringent reputation among the financial community for high taxes and inflexible labor laws which could ultimately be too much of an inconvenience for London's banks.

Despite the perceived drawbacks, HSBC are reportedly considering a move to Paris with chief executive Stuart Gulliver saying he was prepared to move around 1,000 staff to the French capital.