JPMorgan is in talks to buy a Dublin office that can hold 1,000 people

LONDON — JPMorgan looks close to choosing Dublin, Republic of Ireland, as its post-Brexit European Union base.

The investment bank is in talks to buy a Dublin office building that can hold up to 1,000 people, as first reported by Bloomberg.

However, the bank said in a statement to Bloomberg: “Other options are still very much on the table.”

JPMorgan’s management have emphasised this message to staff in an internal memo. Mary Erdoes, asset and wealth management, and Daniel Pinto, head of corporate and investment bank, said the bank has “choices in terms of locations and legal entity structure,” in a memo sent to all staff and reported by the Times.

JPMorgan has 16,000 UK staff across London and Birmingham. CEO Jamie Dimon has repeatedly warned since last year’s vote to leave the European Union that Brexit would lead to job relocations.

The bank’s Dublin talks are part of a wave of Brexit planning currently underway by financials and other multinational companies. Insurance market Lloyd’s of London on Thursday announced it is opening a Brussels subsidiary to satisfy EU law, while easyJet said earlier this week that it is close to announcing plans for a new European hub.

Citi is also assessing its options. James Cowles, Citi’s chief executive for EMEA, said in a memo to staff reported by the Guardian: “A hard Brexit would require certain changes, including relocating certain client-facing roles to the EU from the UK, and the possible creation of a new broker-dealer entity within the EU.

“Citi has been discussing our options with representatives from a number of different countries, as well as with our clients.”

Financial firms are concerned that the UK will lose passporting rights in Brexit. Passporting rights allow companies to sell goods and services across the EU from wherever they are based within it, rather than being re-regulated in each country.

Prime Minister Theresa May has signalled she is willing to give up passporting rights and access to the EU Single Market in exchange for regaining full control over EU migration to Britain, pursuing a so-called “hard Brexit.”

Dublin would enable a bank like JPMorgan to maintain access to the EU market by relocating services, and therefore jobs, to the city. Other locations under consideration by financial firms include Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, and Berlin.

Ken Odeluga, a market analyst at City Index, says in an email: “Investors are bracing for a hit from any slowing of the economy and subsequent fall in asset prices, though the most widely noted risk is around what is known as ‘passporting’: the ability of financial companies to offer their services within the European Union without regulatory restrictions.

“UK-based financials have also been in focus as they are thought to be among the most likely to relocate staff to other EU countries for similar reasons. There has even been speculation that some might uproot themselves entirely — re-domicile — with attendant impact on market sentiment and even the wider economy.”


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