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Standard Life CEO planning for hard Brexit, renews interest in move to Dublin

Key Points
  • Standard Life wants to ensure it keeps serving its clients in countries such as Austria, Germany and Ireland

  • Skeoh said he was "quite concerned" about the British decision to leave the European Union

The asset management firm Standard Life is looking at Ireland as its European base for when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, its CEO told CNBC Tuesday.

"Certainly, we are looking to put our MiFID company into Ireland," Keith Skeoch, chief executive officer of Standard Life, told CNBC, referring to the financial regulation framework under European law. It is unclear at this stage to what extent the same set of rules will apply to the U.K. once it leaves the European Union.

Standard Life had previously mentioned Dublin as a potential city to move in a post-Brexit world to ensure it keeps serving its clients in countries such as Austria, Germany and Ireland.

VIDEO2:5602:56
Luxembourg, Ireland clear homes for asset management post-Brexit: Standard Life CEO

According to Skeoh, Ireland and Luxembourg are the two clear homes for the asset management world trying to relocate some of their operations into Europe to continue their operations with the EU clients.

Luxembourg has been a strong campaigner to attract businesses from the City of London. It has been one of the EU members also applying to host the European Banking Authority. JP Morgan, which also has an asset management arm, has suggested Luxembourg as one of the cities where it might increase staff.

Skeoh said he was "quite concerned" about the British decision to leave the European Union and advised firms to prepare for a hard Brexit.

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How much is Britain willing to divorce the EU?

"From a business perspective, it's absolutely clear to me you've got to get your contingency plans in place. No matter what everyone is saying, plan for a hard Brexit," he said.

Such scenario means that the U.K. will lose access to the EU's single market and so-called passporting rights.

Standard Life reported Tuesday a 6 percent increase in profits during the first half of the year. It is set to conclude a merger with Aberdeen Asset Management next week. The deal aims to make both firms stronger against other market competitors.

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