Business News

Japan's MUFG says picks Amsterdam as EU investment banking base

Key Points
  • Plans to open investment banking branch in Paris
  • MUFG has already picked Amsterdam as EU commercial banking hub
  • Several dozen people will be moved from London

Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) said it has picked Amsterdam as its European Union investment banking base, as financial institutions prepare for Britain's exit from the EU.

Japan's largest lender is following the footsteps of other banks and financial services firms that are setting up regulated subsidiaries in an EU country so that they can do business across the bloc if Britain loses access to the European single market.

Pedestrians walk past a Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ branch in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

MUFG Securities EMEA plc, the European investment banking unit of MUFG, currently has its head office in London with staff of about 600 people.

"The new subsidiary in Amsterdam will ensure that the Group can continue to provide these (securities) services to its EU clients, even if the cross-border passport is lost as a result of Brexit," MUFG, which has $2.8 trillion in assets, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The timing of the start of Amsterdam operations is undecided since it is subject to approval by authorities, the bank said.

MUFG also said it plans to open an investment banking branch in Paris and that several dozen people will be moved from London to either Amsterdam or Paris. The bank has already picked the Dutch city as its commercial banking operations hub in continental Europe.

Global banks have said they could move thousands of jobs out of Britain to prepare for Brexit, the country's planned exit from the European Union in 2019.

MUFG's choice of Amsterdam as its EU hub, however, bucks the trend of other Japanese and global banking peers.

Europe not trying to punish UK over Brexit, expert says

In July, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, Japan's No. 2 and No 3. lenders, respectively, said they would set up subsidiaries in Frankfurt to continue businesses in the bloc after Brexit.

Amsterdam, with some of the world's fastest data links and a history of high-frequency trading, has attracted financial market platforms looking for a post-Brexit base in Europe, with both Tradeweb and MarketAxess saying they would move to the city.

However, its appeal to investment banks looking to move there has been muted by a cap on bonuses for workers in the financial services industry.

A rule limiting bonuses to 20 percent of fixed pay was brought in by the Dutch government after the 2008 financial crisis. The country's parliament voted in June to scrap that limit in a non-binding consultative vote.