Ireland lands highest share of financial services firms exiting UK

Ireland has attracted more global financial institutions relocating from the UK ahead of Brexit than any other EU member state, according to new figures from data provider S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The numbers show 35 global firms have moved here since the 2016 vote, compared to 22 to Germany and 20 to each of France and Luxembourg. Germany's bigger share of large bank moves means that in jobs terms, it has been the bigger gainer from the so-called financial services 'Brexitus'.

The range of firms moving operations here to ensure continued access to the single market after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31 includes Citigroup, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Barclays

It also includes much smaller financial corporations such as brokerages and insurers.

The S&P data indicates that there had been a slowdown in relocations this year to five firms, after a surge in 2019 ahead of the UK's formal departure from the EU on January 1st this year.

Cormac Kelly, who is Financial Services Brexit Lead for EY in Ireland, says the S&P data underestimates the level of relocations he is seeing, which now also includes financial technology and information providers relocating from London.

While some of the early movers to Ireland initially arrived with small numbers, they have grown since establishing operations here, he says. In some cases businesses that had looked to mainland Europe for an EU base are now looking at Ireland again, a trend that may continue beyond the period of Brexit disruptions.

"The approach Ireland took - which was very straight - has been borne out. We're seeing firms that initially opted to go to another EU jurisdiction looking at Ireland again after being disappointed elsewhere, where others made promises they could not deliver," he said.

Unless it gets a new trade agreement, the UK is due to lose access to the single market on January 1. That would include the City of London's vast financial services sector which for decades has served big European clients and dwarfed banking and insurance sectors in most of the Continent.

Ahead of the deadline, French firms have now begun moving around €150bn of assets from the City to France, according to the Governor of the Bank of France.

The Bank of France has authorised asset shifts by 32 companies to "ensure continuity of activities in France", its Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said.


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