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UPDATE 2-Northern Trust to set up EU bank in Luxembourg ahead of Brexit

(Adds appointment of new EU bank head)

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Asset management company Northern Trust will set up a European Union banking base in Luxembourg following Britain's decision last year to leave the bloc, the body promoting the Grand Duchy as a financial centre said on Wednesday.

The 100-year old Chicago-based bank services asset managers has operations in London's Canary Wharf financial district.

"Continental Europe is a strategic area of focus for Northern Trust and the creation of our EU banking presence in Luxembourg highlights our commitment to growing our business in the region," Teresa Parker, president of Northern Trust in Europe, said.

A base in Luxembourg will allow Northern Trust to continue serving customers across the bloc, irrespective of what sort of financial services trading terms Britain negotiates with the EU.

Northern Trust's acquisition of UBS Asset Management's fund administration services in Luxembourg and Switzerland, is expected to close this year.

Northern Trust said it had appointed David Wicks to the new role of head of continental Europe to set up the EU banking presence.

Nicolas Mackel, chief executive of Luxembourg for Finance, said Northern Trust's decision was "further recognition of the cross-border expertise and crucial strategic position of Luxembourg for non-EU financial services companies".

The Grand Duchy is one of the EU's biggest centres for listing funds and has already attracted M&G Investments, part of UK insurer Prudential, which plans to launch a range of Luxembourg-based funds.

Dublin is also competing hard to attract firms in the asset management sector.

Competition between financial centres has prompted the EU's securities regulator to set out guidance to stop national regulators offering light-touch licensing deals.

Luxembourg has also attracted insurers such as CNA Hardy , FM Global, Hiscox, RSA, and AIG .

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Edmund Blair)