Brexit: At least £900bn assets have been moved from UK to EU, study finds

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At least £900bn of assets have been moved out of the UK by financial firms ahead of Brexit, a study suggests.

Research by the think tank New Financial found that 275 companies have moved some or all of their businesses, staff, assets or legal entities from the UK to the European Union to prepare for Brexit.

Dublin is by far the biggest beneficiary with 100 relocations, ahead of Luxembourg with 60, Paris with 41 and Frankfurt with 40.

This has led to 5,000 jobs to move to or be created in EU financial hubs as a result, according to researchers.

But the movement of underlying business is arguably more significant than the jobs figures.

Investment banks have shifted around £800bn of their clients’ money, asset managers have moved £65bn and insurers £35bn, and these figures are likely to significantly underestimate the true flows which have occurred, New Financial said. 

Negative effects have been mitigated by recent agreements between UK and EU regulators, as well as the contingency planning of banks, exchanges and asset managers, the report said. 

However, the think tank warned that the impact of Brexit is “bigger than we expected and we think the report understates the full picture”. 

The authors added: “Many firms will have quietly moved parts of their staff or business below the radar, others will have held off making a formal move – and we think plenty of other firms aren’t yet ready.”

In January Barclays was given the green light to move €190bn (£160bn) of its clients’ assets to Ireland as it ramps up preparations for Brexit.

“As we announced in 2017, Barclays will use our existing licensed EU-based bank subsidiary to continue to serve our clients within the EU beyond March 29 regardless of the outcome of Brexit,” Barclays said.

“Our preparations are well advanced and we expect to be fully operational by March 29.”


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