February 6, 2019 / 3:18 PM / 11 days ago

UBS gets approval to shift 32 billion euros of assets from Britain

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at a branch office in Zurich, Switzerland January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - UBS has received approval from a London court to move up to 32 billion euros ($36.44 billion) in assets from Britain to Germany as part of plans to keep business in the European Union after Brexit.

UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, received approval from Judge Alastair Norris on Tuesday to transfer operations from UBS Limited, its London-based subsidiary primarily handling investment banking activities, to Frankfurt-domiciled UBS Europe SE on March 1.

A UBS spokeswoman confirmed the court’s decision.

The Swiss banking group is the latest financial institution to disclose a material transfer of its business away from London ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU on March 29.

British bank Barclays was granted permission to transfer 190 billion euros in assets to its Dublin-based subsidiary so it could continue to serve its EU clients in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

UBS’s plans could be deferred until July 24 at the latest if the bank “receives sufficient comfort before then that suitable transition arrangements have been agreed by the U.K. and the EU,” according to court filings cited by Bloomberg, which first reported the court’s decision.

Last year, UBS had said in its annual report that it would merge its British entity with the German headquartered European bank in the absence of a transition deal between the EU and Britain prior to the March 29 departure date.

The bank also said it would look to move fewer than 200 of its roughly 5,000 London-based staff from Britain as part of its Brexit preparations, to Frankfurt and other locations.

($1 = 0.8780 euros)

Additional reporting by Sinead Cruise. Editing by Jane Merriman

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