Exit from Bri­tain ahead of Brexit

Pin-striped suits are in fash­ion at Heathrow de­par­tures as Lon­don’s econ­omy wob­bles

Financial Mail - - BETWEEN THE CHAINS BY SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA - Ray Hart­ley hart­leyr@ti­soblack­star.co.za

The Brexit chick­ens are com­ing home to roost for one of the world’s fore­most cities — Lon­don. Ac­cord­ing to a Bloomberg re­port, bankers are leav­ing the city in large num­bers for Euro­pean des­ti­na­tions such as Frankfurt and Paris.

The rea­son­ing is sim­ple: Lon­don will no longer give in­vest­ment houses ac­cess to the Euro­pean mar­ket once the UK steps out of the EU.

Bloomberg says some 9,000 bankers are leav­ing for “des­ti­na­tions not yet known”, while 2,600 are head­ing for Frankfurt and 1,400 are off to Paris.

Go­ing to Frankfurt are UBS, Gold­man Sachs and No­mura, while HSBC and So­ciété Générale are off to Paris.

Cit­i­group has also cho­sen Frankfurt as its new trad­ing hub in the EU.

From the re­port: “Even as the chance re­mains for a UK deal main­tain­ing some sort of ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket, banks are pre­par­ing for the worst and want to have new or ex­panded of­fices up and run­ning inside the bloc be­fore the UK for­mally de­parts in 2019.”

And Reuters re­ports that “Lon­don’s econ­omy is wob­bling from the early ef­fects of Brexit — judg­ing from the cap­i­tal’s fal­ter­ing hous­ing mar­ket, fewer EU cit­i­zens seek­ing work and weaker job cre­ation, ac­cord­ing to a re­port from the Cen­tre for Lon­don think-tank.”

The think-tank re­ported that un­em­ploy­ment was hold­ing at 5.5%, but that job cre­ation had slowed and a full 15% fewer for­eign work­ers were seek­ing em­ploy­ment in Lon­don than a year ago.

“While no-one knows how Brexit will play out, this new anal­y­sis sug­gests that Lon­don’s econ­omy is be­gin­ning to wob­ble,” Cen­tre for Lon­don di­rec­tor Ben Rogers is quoted as say­ing.

Any­one heard from the SA busi­nesses that took up res­i­dence in Lon­don to be closer to the EU mar­ket? There’s a story there some­where . . .

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