HSBC to shift some staff to
Paris after Brexit in blow to London
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[January 18, 2017]
By Pamela Barbaglia
Switzerland (Reuters) - HSBC became the first major bank to detail
plans to move jobs out of London after Brexit, saying it will relocate
staff responsible for generating around a fifth of its UK-based trading
revenue to Paris after Britain leaves the EU.
Major financial firms warned for months before Britain's referendum on
European Union membership in June that they would move jobs out of the
country if there was a vote to leave, but have set out few details since
on how many will go or where to.
"We will move in about two years time when Brexit becomes effective,"
the bank's Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver told Reuters on Wednesday at
the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in a
potentially damaging first blow to London's status as Europe's main
Other banks are expected to announce more concrete plans for how they
will adapt to Brexit in the coming months after Prime Minister Theresa
May confirmed in a speech on Tuesday that Britain would leave the
European single market.
HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, is at an advantage to its major U.S. rivals
as it already has a large subsidiary in Paris that holds most of the
licenses needed by an investment bank, meaning Gulliver has been able to
set out more detailed plans.
It is expected to move around 1,000 staff who are involved in trading
products such as European stocks that are regulated by the EU. HSBC's
global banking and markets division that houses those roles made profits
of $384 million in the UK in 2015, according to a company filing.
The shift of jobs will be a blow to the City of London, which has been
lobbying since the Brexit vote for financial firms in Britain to retain
their EU 'passporting rights' which lets them sell their services across
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The moon rises over the HSBC building in the Canary Wharf financial
district of London, Britain November 13, 2016. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
But passporting is unlikely to continue with Britain outside the
European single market, and firms say they are now likely to press ahead
with plans to move staff, even though May said she would try to
negotiate some form of market access to the bloc.
The City's best hope will be for the government to agree a transitional
arrangement whereby finance firms can continue to operate out of Britain
across the EU for a number of years after Brexit, in the hope that a
favorable access deal is achieved in the interim.
"We would like to see a transitional agreement announced as soon as
possible," Mark Boleat, policy chairman at the City of London
Corporation, said in a statement on Tuesday after May's speech.
HSBC shares were up 1.89 percent by 1269 GMT, against a 0.45 percent
fall in the broader European banks index.
(Writing by Lawrence White and Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Jason
Neely/Keith Weir/Alexander Smith)
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