* TR applies for licence with Irish central bank
* Latest announcement of shift in EU hub ahead of Brexit
* Thomson Reuters’ spot FX trading to remain in London (Adds details, quotes from co-head of trading)
By Tommy Wilkes and Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp said on Tuesday it would transfer its $300 billion-a-day foreign exchange derivatives trading business to Dublin from London ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union next year.
Major electronic bond and forex trading platforms have announced plans over the past year to shift their trading businesses out of London ahead of Brexit in March 2019, with most of Thomson Reuters’ rivals opting for Amsterdam.
Thomson Reuters has applied to the Irish central bank to move its foreign exchange Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF) to Dublin so that it can continue to sell into the EU’s single market, the company said in a statement.
It intends to transfer all “existing client relationships of the Thomson Reuters MTF and Dealing, as well as Fixed Income Callouts and Auctions, from RTSL to our new Irish legal entity ahead of the Brexit date.”
Neill Penney, the company’s co-head of trading, said there were no plans to move staff from London but that some new personnel would be hired in Dublin.
He said Thomson Reuters had opted for Dublin over Amsterdam because it was the most cost-effective, would “minimise disruption for clients” and because Dublin’s growing role as a centre for financial technology and research would “open a number of doors” should the company want to expand.
“It doesn’t matter for our customers which European city we are in ... From a technology front, the technology is remaining where it is, which is in London and New York,” he said.
All spot forex trading, where its volumes top $100 billion a day, would remain in London, as would its post-trade services.
Thomson Reuters runs one of the world’s largest trading platforms in the $5 trillion-a-day global foreign exchange market.
Even if only the legal entity, the departure of any part of a currencies trading business will be a blow to London. Foreign exchange trading remains the crown jewel of the city’s financial services industry with volumes traded in the city far surpassing its nearest rival.
Big banks and trading platforms compete on speed when trading forex and invest heavily in cutting edge technology in London.
While trading platforms - or even some of the dealers themselves - head elsewhere after Brexit most of the hardware is likely to remain in London because of the high-speed sub-Atlantic cables linking it to New York.
Bloomberg, MarketAxess and Nex Group have chosen Amsterdam as their EU hub for their trading units, media have reported.
Bonds platform Tradeweb, in which Thomson Reuters has a stake, also announced plans to move to Amsterdam, a city that hosts many of the fast-moving algorithmic trading businesses active in FX and fixed income markets.
Thomson Reuters, controlled by Canada’s Thomson family, is the parent of Reuters News.
Its forex business is part of the trading operations being bought by private equity giant Blackstone. (Additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia Editing by Michael Holden and Janet Lawrence)