Brexit stage left – IDA tar­gets UK banks ahead of Bri­tain’s June vote

Irish Independent - Business Week - - FRONT PAGE - Am­bereen Choud­hury, Gavin Finch and Dara Doyle

THE IDA has some of Bri­tain’s big­gest banks in its sights, hop­ing to sign them up for ma­jor Ir­ish ex­pan­sion if the UK votes to leave the Euro­pean Union in June.

Lenders in­clud­ing Stan­dard Char­tered and Ul­ster Bank’s owner Royal Bank of Scot­land (RBS) are be­ing tar­geted in the IDA ef­fort to lure fi­nance jobs to this coun­try, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions said.

IDA Ire­land has al­ready pitched to UK and in­ter­na­tional lenders about re­lo­cat­ing hun­dreds of traders and sup­port staff, the peo­ple said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied as the dis­cus­sions were pri­vate.

The agency is push­ing towns like Shan­non as ideal des­ti­na­tions for ad­min­is­tra­tive em­ploy­ees be­cause they of­fer low costs and am­ple of­fice space, one of the peo­ple said.

The UK will vote on June 23 on whether to re­main part of the Euro­pean Union.

Lon­don’s fi­nanciers have warned a so-called Brexit vote will prompt over­seas banks to move jobs else­where, be­cause some fi­nan­cial prod­ucts can’t be traded out­side the EU without spe­cific agree­ments.

In the event of a Brexit UK-owned banks could opt to set up sub­sidiaries in­side the EU to get around those rules, as Swiss and US banks have long done.

“Brexit could ini­tially chal­lenge the cur­rent op­er­a­tional struc­tures of some UK and in­ter­na­tional banks which do cross-bor­der busi­ness” and re­quire “re-en­gi­neer­ing to en­sure ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket,” Car­los Suarez Duarte, an an­a­lyst at Moody’s In­vestors Ser­vice, said in a re­port this month.

IDA chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Martin Shana­han told the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent in March that he had met with “some fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies” and dis­cussed Brexit, without pro­vid­ing specifics.

“En­cour­ag­ing in­vest­ment into re­gional lo­ca­tions out­side of Dublin is a key part of the IDA Ire­land’s strat­egy,” the agency said in an state­ment, de­clin­ing to com­ment fur­ther.

Stan­dard Char­tered and RBS de­clined to com­ment.

Banks that have moved some op­er­a­tions to Ire­land in­clude Swiss-head­quar­tered Credit Suisse, which said in December that it will make Dublin its primary hub for ser­vic­ing hedge funds in Europe and move staff from Lon­don.

The com­pany, which con­sid­ered Lon­don be­fore set­tling on Ire­land, will em­ploy about 100 peo­ple in con­nec­tion with the trad­ing floor.

HSBC said in Fe­bru­ary that it would prob­a­bly need to move about 1,000 in­vest­ment bankers to Paris, in the event of a Brexit.

IDA chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Sha­ha­han has dis­cussed Brexit with fi­nan­cial firms

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