Brexit: French officials in ‘serious’ talks with banks about leaving London

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French officials are having serious talks with financial institutions looking to move away from London as Britain prepares to quit the EU, the governor of the French central bank has said.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, François Villeroy de Galhau, who is also a governing council member of the European Central Bank, said: “We are having discrete but numerous and serious contacts” with banks in the UK about relocations.

He said that “Paris has every chance” of attracting banks.

Earlier this month, JPMorgan said it would move hundreds of London jobs to Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg in preparation for Brexit.

Daniel Pinto, the firm’s head of investment banking, said at the time that JPMorgan cannot afford to wait for confirmation on how the industry will be regulated after the UK leaves the EU.

The sector is crucial to the UK economy and contributed about £71bn to the Exchequer last year, according to professional services firm PwC.

Many banks have indicated that they will be forced to move at least some staff and are making contingency plans for a number of potential Brexit outcomes.

In January, HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said trading operations that generate about 20 per cent of revenue for the lender’s investment bank in London may move to Paris.

Goldman Sachs’ Europe chief executive, Richard Gnodde, confirmed in March that the bank would relocate hundreds of staff out of London before any Brexit deal is struck and said it had already begun implementing those plans.

Axel Weber, chairman of UBS, said in January that about 1,000 of the bank’s 5,000 jobs in London could be at risk.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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