EURO CITIES WOOING EBA
But moving EU banking authority to new location will require legislative action
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