AIG joins list of finance firms looking at moving some UK operations

Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:05pm EST
 
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By Huw Jones and Carolyn Cohn

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. insurer AIG (AIG.N: Quote) may move its European headquarters from London to another European Union country because of Britain's vote to leave the EU, the head of the AIG's European and UK operations said at an industry conference on Tuesday.

AIG joins a growing list of finance industry companies that have said they may have to shift some operations to continental Europe to maintain links to customers after Brexit.

Speaking at the same conference, trade minister Mark Garnier said the government was listening to the financial industry's concerns over Brexit. "We will aim to limit uncertainty surrounding business," Garnier said.

"The government fully understands the implications of Brexit for the financial services industry," Garnier told insurance trade body ABI's annual conference.

Banks, insurers and asset managers in Britain fear losing access to the EU's single market, and a damaging "cliff edge" effect of leaving the bloc if there are no transitional arrangements ahead of any new trading terms agreed with the EU.

Anthony Baldwin, chief executive of AIG's European and UK arms, said the group might decide in the coming year to move its European head office from London to an EU country after Brexit, though it would still maintain a big London hub. AIG has around 2,500 staff in Britain.

Baldwin told reporters on the sidelines of the conference he was looking at half a dozen locations, including Dublin, though the impact on staffing would not be material if the headquarters moved out of London.

"At a certain point in time you have to pull the trigger in the absence of any clarity on where negotiations are going with the transition period," Baldwin told the conference.   Continued...

 
The American International Group (AIG) office building is seen in the City of London on September 16, 2008. U.S. stock index futures extended losses on Tuesday as investors worried whether insurer AIG would be able to secure fresh capital after credit agency downgrades.     REUTERS/Andrew Winning