Germany talks to banks about Frankfurt move after Brexit

Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:16am EST
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By John O'Donnell

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's top regulators met about 50 envoys from foreign banks on Monday to explain how they could move business to Europe's biggest economy after Britain leaves the European Union, German financial watchdog Bafin said.

Bafin, which has been approached by numerous banks in recent weeks, said it answered questions from the banks such as how to get a banking license in Germany. One official said representatives of about 25 banks had attended.

Peter Lutz, a Bafin official in charge of bank oversight, said the authorities wanted to help banks considering a move to understand the rules in Germany.

"Foreign banks are welcome," Lutz said, adding that U.S. banks, "real UK banks", as well as lenders from Japan and Australia had attended the meeting.

He said he had made clear that strict rules would apply. "It's not enough to have a letter box here," he said, adding that senior managers must also be based in Germany.

The meeting underscores a growing willingness to consider alternatives to London, after Prime Minister Theresa May said that Britain would leave the EU's single market, a move that would isolate the City of London from many European clients.

Executives, chiefly those in charge of regulatory issues, from banks including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup were to attend the meeting in Bafin's Frankfurt offices, people familiar with the matter have said. Those banks declined to comment.

Many Germans are skeptical of the aggressive practices of largely U.S. and British investment banks.   Continued...

A sign for Bank Street and high rise offices are pictured in the financial district Canary Wharf in London October 21, 2010. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor