January 24, 2017 / 1:08 PM / in 8 months

Citi to make decision on Brexit plans in first half: Europe chief

A Citibank ATM is seen in Los Angeles, California, March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

DUBLIN (Reuters) - U.S. bank Citigroup will make a decision on its Brexit contingency plans in the first half of the year and choose from a number of potential EU counties to relocate some investment banking business, the bank’s European chief said on Tuesday.

“We will be making a decision in the first half of this year, it’s a decision that every bank has to make in the first six months of this year,” James Cowles, Citi’s Chief Executive Officer for Europe, the Middle East & Africa (EMEA) told the European Financial Forum conference in Dublin.

Along with fellow U.S. bank Morgan Stanley, Citi has identified many of the roles that will need to be moved from Britain following its exit from the European Union, sources involved in the processes told Reuters last week.

Cowles said the bank was looking at where to establish a new broker dealer by either creating a new EU entity or through building up one of its existing entities.

“Our issue is with our broker dealer which is located in the U.K and it will lose, presumably, passporting rights,” Cowles said.

“We’ve reached out, we’ve talked to regulators and people at government across many countries in Europe, including Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands and we’re in the process of evaluating each one of them.”

Citi, which has almost 60 percent of its European headcount based outside Britain, will need to shift 100 positions in its sales and trading business, sources with knowledge of the matter said last week.

It already has a large banking unit in Dublin, which is regulated by the European Central Bank and employs around 2,500 people in Dublin. Cowles said Citi would continue to have good, steady employment growth in Ireland.

Reporting By Padraic Halpin, editing by Anjuli Davies

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