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Bank jobs are moving out of London — and Brexit hasn't even kicked in yet

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Despite fears of irrevocable damage, the City of London is unlikely to change substantially once the U.K. leaves the European Union.

The financial services industry has been quietly preparing for Brexit given that it's likely to lose its EU passporting rights – meaning that it will need extra licenses to serve EU-based customers.

The negotiations between London and Brussels are still ongoing and it is unclear how many employees will have to be moved from London to other European cities. At the moment, the disruption appears to be minimal compared to the overall size of the industry.

But there are clear winners from the exit of some jobs from London with Frankfurt and Dublin the top destinations for institutions that wish to continue working with clients across the EU.

Banks are moving jobs out of London because of Brexit - but not as many as you’d think
Banks are moving jobs out of London because of Brexit - but not as many as you’d think

CNBC spoke with banks across the City to take a closer look at their plans so far:


The British bank has said it will expand its Irish subsidiary to continue its European trade. The bank hasn't revealed figures of how many new jobs it will need in Dublin as it is still in negotiations with regulators and waiting for more details from Brexit talks. For now, the expectations are that about 150 jobs will be added in Dublin, but not all of them will be moved over from London as the bank intends to also hire locally.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch 

Bank of America has also chosen Dublin as its preferred location to place its European legal entities. "Dublin is the home to more of our employees than any other European city outside of the U.K. We already have a fully licensed and operation Irish-domiciled bank," the bank said in a statement in July.

BofAML will be moving "hundreds" of roles to Dublin, but also to a few other undisclosed EU locations.


Citigroup might create 150 new jobs in different EU locations. The bank said that it will convert its existing subsidiary in Frankfurt into an investment firm. Other capabilities such as private banking will also be enhanced in other cities, such as Amsterdam, Dublin and Paris.

Credit Suisse

The Swiss bank is "currently exploring solutions to various outcomes, including a hard Brexit," a spokeswoman told CNBC. The bank hasn't presented any Brexit strategy as of yet, but as a result of restructuring plans, the UK-based workforce has been reduced over the past few years.

Deutsche Bank

The German lender hasn't specified its Brexit plans but it is set to beef up its Frankfurt basis. In April this year, the bank said that it could move up to 4,000 jobs to Germany - the highest potential bank move, but for now the bank is still assessing the situation.

Goldman Sachs

The investment bank hasn't presented its plans for the post-Brexit world but its management team has given a few indications of what might happen. Richard Gnodde, head of Goldman Sachs Europe told the BBC in late July that the bank has begun moving operation from London to Frankfurt and other European cities. "Client-facing staff will move closer to their clients, be it Milan or Madrid or any other European capital," he said.

At the moment there are 200 bankers based in Frankfurt, which according to Gnodde, could at least double.


HSBC's CEO Stuart Gulliver said during the bank's full year results: "We employ 43,000 people in the UK. When they leave the single market, which obviously the Prime Minister has indicated that we will, we will employ 42,000 people in the UK and a thousand jobs will be unlawful to carry out from the U.K. once we've left the single market."

The lender chose Paris because it owns a bank in France that has all the licences.

JP Morgan

JP Morgan is expected to move "hundreds" of employees. It will use Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris and Luxembourg as "legal anchors" but it hasn't yet announced details for such moves.

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan said in October that the bank could increase its headcount in Paris by roughly 60 people. However, the final numbers will depend on the outcome of negotiations.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)

The bank has said that it is looking at placing its EU-focused business in Amsterdam.

"Obviously we've got a bank there with the appropriate licenses, we've had a long history in Amsterdam (and) for us at least it is a very logical choice," Ewen Stevenson, RBS chief financial officer told CNBC during the bank's latest results earlier this month.

He added that "probably no more than about 150 people" will be relocated.

Standard Chartered

"We are in the process of submitting an application to an EU subsidiary to be based in Frankfurt, This is not our headquarters, which will very much remain in London," the bank told CNBC.

The British bank is expected to move only a "minimal" amount of jobs.


Swiss bank UBS is still drafting plans, however it has lowered its forecasts for potential job moves from 1,000 to about 250. The bank is assessing Frankfurt, Madrid and Amsterdam as its potential EU locations.

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