Frank­furt gains Brexit boost with re­lent­less lob­by­ing

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

FRANK­FURT AM MAIN: One year on from Bri­tain’s vote to leave the Euro­pean Union, de­ter­mined lob­by­ing and po­lit­i­cal lever­age have helped Ger­man fi­nan­cial cap­i­tal Frank­furt grab pole po­si­tion in the race for bank busi­ness quit­ting Lon­don. Wheels were turn­ing in the fi­nan­cial world well be­fore Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May for­mally no­ti­fied the EU at the end of March that she planned to lead the UK out of the 28-mem­ber bloc.

Once Brexit is fi­nal­ized, fi­nan­cial firms could lose so-called “pass­port­ing” rules that al­low them to sell fi­nan­cial ser­vices across the EU from Lon­don-prompt­ing many to look to the re­main­ing 27 states for a new base. In Frank­furt, pub­lic- and pri­vate-sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions set out to woo banks to the city on the river Main, where con­struc­tion work­ers and cranes are busily adding floors to new sky­scrapers be­ing built.

Their ef­forts have been crowned with success. Last week, ma­jor Korean bank Woori an­nounced that it would ap­ply for a Ger­man bank­ing li­cense, match­ing de­ci­sions from Ja­pan’s No­mura, Daiwa and Su­mit­omo in­vest­ment banks. Mean­while, US gi­ant Gold­man Sachs an­nounced in mid-June that it would be dou­bling its staff in Frank­furt from the present num­ber of 200. “Frank­furt’s chances of prof­it­ing from Brexit have sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased in the past few months,” said Michael Kem­mer, gen­eral man­ager of the Association of Ger­man Banks (BDB). —AFP

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