JP Morgan Asks Staff To Relocate From UK Amid Brexit Angst

Robbie Lawther, Reporter, London, 9 July 2018


The bank sent a memo to a handful of staff asking them to relocate to continental Europe post-Brexit.

Wall Street giant JP Morgan has asked a number of employees to lead a first round of relocations from the UK to continental Europe by early 2019, as it starts its post-Brexit plans, a spokesperson has confirmed.

The bank asked several dozen employees, including some from its wealth management segment, according to a memo. The spokesperson would not confirm the quantity of staff asked to relocate within its wealth segment.

The memo came a day before UK Prime Minister Theresa May held crunch talks with ministers at her country residence Chequers on how she wants to shape the UK's future trading relationship with the EU. The bank's memo was signed by Daniel Pinto, chief executive of JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank and Mary Erdoes, CEO of the bank’s asset and wealth management division. According to Reuters, the memo outlined JPMorgan’s plans to expand its presence in other EU cities including Paris, Madrid and Milan.

Until now, the bank was expected to focus on expanding its Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin bases, where it already holds banking licenses.

According to Reuters, the staff who have committed to leave the UK before “Brexit Day” on 29 March 2019 primarily work in client-facing or risk management roles in both the investment bank and asset management divisions. It also said JP Morgan expected to migrate or add “a few hundred roles” to the EU-based headcount by that date and it had already started recruiting for key positions, but relocations could happen more gradually if a suitable transition deal was confirmed.

This comes at a time where firms are starting to make their long term plans for the UK's exit from the EU. What this means for the financial services sector is still unknown, as Prime Minister May battles to achieve a firm cabinet line about Brexit. Arguments centre around whether the UK quits the bloc entirely or retains some membership of the Customs Union, involving possible limits on the UK's ability to do free trade deals with non-EU nations. There has been a steady diet of stories of how fund managers and banks are considering shifting some operations into countries such as Ireland and Germany to retain a level of EU access. Debate continues on the scale of any shift, given that London is seen as being the dominant financial market in Europe over the medium term.

The financial sector has had a mixed reaction to Brexit. Paris-based Comgest, the independent asset manager, opened its first UK representative office in London, last month, but LGIM [part of Legal & General], on the other hand, has recently moved its European headquarters to Dublin, as reported by this publication. While Brexit will undoubtedly rattle the UK’s financial services sector, a recent survey showed that the number of finance jobs to be shifted out of the country by the March 2019 Brexit deadline has dropped by half, compared with earlier forecasts, to 5,000 roles.


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