Lon­don lord mayor says Dublin top choice

Parm­ley says fi­nan­cial ser­vices re­lo­cat­ing post-Brexit should choose Dublin Move­ment out of Lon­don has been less than an­tic­i­pated ac­cord­ing to mayor

The Irish Times - Business - - Business This Week | News - DE­NIS STAUNTON Lon­don Ed­i­tor

Dublin is a bet­ter choice than Frank­furt or Paris for fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies mov­ing op­er­a­tions from Lon­don be­cause of Brexit, the lord mayor of Lon­don An­drew Parm­ley has said. But the lord mayor who rep­re­sents the City of Lon­don and the broader Bri­tish fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try, said the move­ment of peo­ple out of Lon­don has been smaller than an­tic­i­pated.

“If I were the per­son mak­ing the de­ci­sion to leave the UK, I think I would be think­ing of Dublin be­fore any­where else,” he told The Ir­ish Times.

“I would put Dublin ahead of Frank­furt or Paris be­cause of the lan­guage ques­tion. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is an enor­mous ben­e­fit. If I can pick up the phone with some­one in Dublin, we’re talk­ing straight away. But I think the real threat to all of us, the whole 28 [EU mem­ber states], is New York and I think we’re not go­ing to see as much move­ment within Europe as we see else­where.”

Dr Parm­ley will be in Dublin next week for meet­ings with the gover­nor of the cen­tral bank, Philip Lane, Tá­naiste Frances Fitzger­ald, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál MacDon­n­cha, as well as busi­ness fig­ures. He will also travel to Belfast and Derry to dis­cuss busi­ness de­vel­op­ment in Northern Ire­land.

The City of Lon­don has been lob­by­ing the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment for a soft Brexit but the lord mayor said that the pri­or­ity now was to en­sure Lon­don and Brus­sels agreed by the end of this year that there would be a tran­si­tion pe­riod after Bri­tain leaves the EU in 2019.

“We don’t need any in­for­ma­tion other than that tran­si­tion is now agreed. That will sta­bilise the work­force po­si­tion I be­lieve. But with­out that sta­bil­i­sa­tion, big com­pa­nies have been putting in place their con­tin­gency plans,” he said.

“The big play­ers par­tic­u­larly have been mak­ing their plans. Their board of directors, their share­hold­ers and in­deed the reg­u­la­tor would ex­pect them to be­cause if you have cus­tomers through­out Europe you have to be able to con­tinue to serve your cus­tomers, and busi­ness fol­lows cus­tomers. That said, thus far we’ve not seen a lot of move­ment. JP Mor­gan has dou­bled its Euro­pean work­force from 500 to 1,000 but that leaves 14,000 here in Lon­don.”

Dr Parm­ley cited the ex­am­ple of Lloyds of Lon­don, the in­surer, which was re­ported to be plan­ning to move thou­sands of staff from Lon­don.

“In the end, they’ve opened an of­fice in Brus­sels for 100 peo­ple. Only 10 peo­ple have gone from Lon­don to Brus­sels and the chair­man has told me he ex­pects to see those 10 peo­ple back. But that isn’t to say we’re not on the cusp of some­thing much big­ger,” he said.

Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Theresa May said in Manch­ester this week that the gov­ern­ment was pre­par­ing for ev­ery even­tu­al­ity, in­clud­ing leav­ing the EU with no deal. Dr Parm­ley ac­knowl­edged that such a sce­nario would be the worst pos­si­ble one for the City but in­sisted the Square Mile would take it in its stride.

“If there is a bad deal we’ll face it. We’ll deal with it in the same way that we dealt with the Great Fire of Lon­don and the Blitz and ev­ery­thing else be­fore,” he said.

We’ll deal with it in the same way that we dealt with the Great Fire of Lon­don

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