More banks will announce Brexit relocation plans to Europe ‘within weeks’

LONDON — A number of banks will announce plans to move operations from London to continental Europe “within weeks” as part of Brexit contingency plans, according to the chief executive of a body which promotes Paris as a leading European financial hub.

Arnaud de Bresson, chief executive of Paris Europlace, told Business Insider: “A good number of international investment banks and asset managers will announce a rebalancing for most of the part of their activities related to European instruments [activities covered by European Union legislation] in the coming weeks.

De Bresson said that banks would move “most probably not to one [European financial] centre but a few, according to the strengths of each financial marketplace in the European Union,” adding that banks would likely be deterred from moving to Paris if an “extremist” candidate wins the French election in four weeks’ time.

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 yesterday, kick-starting the two-year exit process before Britain formally leaves the EU.

The UK is widely expected to lose financial passporting rights after Brexit, which would represent a huge blow to its financial services industry. The EU’s passporting rules allow businesses to sell services across the union from anywhere within it and only require companies to be regulated in one country, rather than everywhere they operate.

Goldman Sachs last week confirmed its intention to move hundreds of staff from London to Paris as part of their post-Brexit contingency plans, while HSBC’s chief executive said in January that the bank could move up to 20% of its banking operation to Paris.