Bloomberg: Banks may leave UK before Brexit comes into force

Big investment banks with their European headquarters in London will start the process of moving jobs from the U.K. within weeks of the government triggering Brexit, a faster time line than their public messages of patience would imply, according to people briefed on the plans being drawn up by four of the biggest firms.
Dismayed by the lack of a clear plan to protect the U.K.’s status as a global financial hub, executives are planning for the worst — that they will lose the right to sell services freely around the European Union from the City, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Facing a long process with potential waits for regulatory approvals before workers can pack their bags, banks want to start quickly in order to have new or expanded offices set up in Europe before the end of the two-year Brexit negotiation period.
“This year is all about understanding potential scenarios, your options, and what your contingency plans are,” said Andrew Gray, head of Brexit for U.K. financial services at PwC, which is advising banks on how best to respond to Brexit. “Some plans will take time to execute, and firms can’t afford to wait until Jan. 1, 2019, and risk not being able to do business.”
The full article is available here.

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