Deutsche Bank reviews whether to move British operations if UK exits EU

By Nicole Miskelly | 19 May 2015

Deutsche Bank is reviewing whether to move parts of its British operations to Germany if the UK decides to leave the EU.

The Financial Times (FT) reports that Deutsche Bank, which is the biggest German lender by assets and employs 9,000 people in the UK, is the first bank to start examining the effects of a British referendum on EU membership.

The referendum is due in the next two years and according to the FT, the move by Deusche Bank is seen by rivals as an attempt to influence the debate in favour of the UK staying in the EU. Many more banks are expected to speak out about the risks of the referendum on the financial sector in the run-up, as they did before the Scottish independence vote last year.  

“I think the banks will be more vocal about the risks than they were on the Scottish referendum. This could be an early sign of them gearing up,” a UK banking executive told the FT.

The German bank has recently established a working group made up of senior executives from its risk, research, strategy and UK management teams to plan how the potential EU exit would affect its presence in the UK.

According to the FT, Deutsche bank, which has been providing banking services in the UK since 1873 and has a large majority of its investment banking operations based in London and Birmingham, have recently been approached by clients asking advice on consequences of a UK exit from the EU.

London is home to over 250 foreign banks, including JPMorgan and Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and UBS which have so far not launched a formal contingency plan for the EU referendum. Big US Banks such as Morgan Stanley and Citigroup have previously said that Dublin is a possible alternative to London if they were to move operations outside of the UK.

The FT reports that many senior bankers are worried that if the UK left the EU, Britain would be unable to negotiate the same passporting rights for the financial services industry and if these were lost it may force many investment and corporate banks to leave the UK. 

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