The head of the investment bank at UBS is warning that the bank “most probably we would need to consider moving a number of our [London] employees to an EU country” in the wake of the Brexit vote, as the Treasury puts pressure on banks to keep quiet and carry on.
UBS’ investment bank chief Andrea Orcel told Bloomberg TV this week that a “significant percentage” of UBS’s 5,000 London employees would likely have to move if the UK lost its passporting and euro clearing rights. But he said the UBS would still have a base in the UK.
Orcel’s warning comes as the Financial Times reports that the Treasury is putting pressure on banks to keep quiet about potential job losses in the UK, warning it is unhelpful.
Several investment banks have warned that jobs may have to move. Goldman Sachs’ cohead of investment banking said shortly after the vote: “If passporting was totally removed, we would have to adjust our footprint and where people were located.” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has also repeatedly warned that the bank may have to relocate some of its 16,000 UK staff to mainland Europe.
Former Chancellor George Osborne summoned representatives of the biggest investment banks in the UK to the Treasury last week, eventually releasing a joint statement signed by them all saying they will work together “to help London retain its position as the leading international financial center.”
The FT claims that the Treasury originally wanted the banks to sign an even more strongly worded statement pledging support to London, but that this was rejected by the banks.
However, it is worth noting that overnight, Osborne was sacked as Chancellor by newly installed prime minister Theresa May.