EURO CITIES WOO­ING EBA

But mov­ing EU bank­ing au­thor­ity to new lo­ca­tion will re­quire leg­isla­tive ac­tion

New Straits Times - - Business -

ALONG with banks that have sig­nalled they will be mov­ing jobs abroad, Brexit will prob­a­bly see the Euro­pean Bank­ing Au­thor­ity (EBA) leave Bri­tish cap­i­tal – and ri­val cities are jock­ey­ing to be its next host.

The head­quar­ters of the Euro­pean Union’s fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor in the Ca­nary Wharf dis­trict, here, has 170 em­ploy­ees from 27 of the 28 Euro­pean Union na­tions.

Brexit is “a ma­jor talk­ing point among the staff”, said ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Adam Farkas, as Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May pre­pares to take the his­toric step of launch­ing the exit process this week.

“The out­come of the ref­er­en­dum, which will likely lead to a re­moval of the EBA from Lon­don, is hav­ing a ma­jor im­pact,” said Farkas, 49, a Hun­gar­ian who has headed the EBA since 2011.

Me­dia re­ports sug­gest that cities in­clud­ing Am­s­ter­dam, Dublin, Frank­furt, Paris and Vi­enna could be try­ing to woo the EBA.

“We have seen re­ally wide in­ter­est from Euro­pean cap­i­tals, and not only from cap­i­tals, but other cities as well, who ex­pressed their de­sire or in­ten­tion to host us,” said Farkas. There were “quite a num­ber of cities in the pic­ture”, he added.

The EBA is per­haps best known for its reg­u­lar stress tests on the EU’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor, which have be­come a vi­tal fo­cus for in­vestors and reg­u­la­tors in the wake of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

The EBA’s home – in one of the city’s tallest sky­scrapers – is en­shrined in EU law, so mov­ing will re­quire leg­isla­tive ac­tion.

“We do not have a for­mal role in de­cid­ing this. If we see some sort of short­list emerg­ing... we would of course con­sult the staff and seek their views,” said Farkas.

“We have not done so un­til now be­cause it would prob­a­bly be too open-ended and not very con­clu­sive – but we en­gage with the staff very ac­tively.”

Farkas said be­ing here was “very nat­u­ral” for the EBA, but em­pha­sised that the or­gan­i­sa­tion would rather have an early de­ci­sion that would re­move un­cer­tainty and pro­vide a longer tran­si­tion pe­riod. AFP

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