Banks put 'hard' Brexit move plans into action

Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:54am EST
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By Anjuli Davies and Andrew MacAskill

LONDON (Reuters) - Global banks have begun signaling how they will put plans into action to cope with a "hard" exit by Britain from the European Union.

Until now, banks have considered varying degrees of upheaval to their British-based businesses, depending on whether the outcome of Brexit was "hard" or "soft."

But after Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain would leave the single market, bankers have already begun giving more details on how they will adapt.

Bank executives will present plans to their boards in the coming months outlining where they want to relocate operations to and how much it will cost, banking industry sources said.

The movement of jobs from London is likely to be slow at first, with banks more focused on getting regulatory approval and installing the necessary infrastructure for new or bolstered EU outposts so they can continue to sell products and service EU customers.

HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote) and UBS (UBSG.S: Quote) have both warned they could move around 1,000 jobs out of London.

"All the banks are doing the non-harmful stuff first in an attempt to get ahead of the curve," a senior executive at one of Europe's largest banks said.

This will focus on areas such as license applications, and building technology platforms, according to lawyers.   Continued...

Canary Wharf and the city are seen at sunset in London, December 14, 2016.        REUTERS/Eddie Keogh