Frankfurt lays claim to Wall Street banks after Brexit

Fri May 5, 2017 10:12am EDT
 
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By John O'Donnell

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The five largest U.S. investment banks are set to move hundreds of key staff within two years from London to Frankfurt, the city's chief lobbyist told Reuters, in a move that could bolster Germany's role in global finance.

Hubertus Vaeth, who has been promoting the city to banks since Britain voted to leave the European Union last year, told Reuters he expected a "significant chunk" of their operations to come to Frankfurt.

"That means, in the case of JP Morgan (JPM.N: Quote), Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup (C.N: Quote) and Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote) a move of more than 1,000 jobs in total to Frankfurt, which will happen by the end of Brexit talks," said Vaeth, who heads Frankfurt Main Finance.

Vaeth's remarks come as rival centers, chiefly Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris and Luxembourg, make a final push to win banks searching for a foothold in the European Union after Britain's departure limits their freedom to trade.

Frankfurt, which long grappled with an unfavorable backwater image, promotes itself as a stable city for banks seeking to relocate, while the German government and politicians have discreetly welcomed those looking to move.

As uncertainty has grown in the wake of a snap election in Britain, and as talks between British Prime Minister Theresa May and her counterparts in Brussels got off to an acrimonious start, Germany's steady, if sometimes gray, image holds appeal.

For executives worried about further political uncertainty in the euro currency bloc, the city's location in the region's strongest economy has helped.

Vaeth conceded that rival Dublin would also benefit, hosting possibly even more staff from the banks. But he believes they will be primarily in administrative or back-office functions.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO: The famous skyline with its banking district is pictured in early evening next to the Main River in Frankfurt, Germany, January 19, 2016.  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo