UBS CEO: 'More and more unlikely' Brexit will force us to move 1,000 jobs out of London

  • UBS is “more and more unlikely” to move 1,000 jobs out of London.
  • CEO Sergio Ermotti says the bank has been given “clarifications” in recent weeks.
  • “Our target is to keep as many people as we we can in London,” he said.

LONDON — It is becoming “more and more unlikely” that banking giant UBS will have to activate its worst case Brexit scenario and shift 1,000 jobs out of London, the bank’s CEO Sergio Ermotti said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Ermotti said that UBS has recently received “regulatory and political clarifications” that make it less likely the bank will need to move staff out of the UK after Brexit.

“The 1,000 you mentioned… is becoming in the last few months more and more unlikely… because we got also some regulatory and political clarification about what we need to do,” he said, according to a report from the Financial Times.

“We are finalising our plan on where to move people that need to be moved over the next… one to three years depending on the outcome of this political discussions and negotiation.”

“Our target is to keep as many people as we can in London,” he said.

Ermotti’s comments come just a few weeks after Andrea Orcel, the head of UBS’ investment bank, said that London is unlikely to lose its role as a hub of European finance. There is a “whole ecosystem around financial services,” he said, which includes housing, schools, culture, and other non-work related concerns. It would be “difficult to replicate” in other European cities, he added.

Orcel said many finance workers who live in London don’t want to leave the capital and be forced to start new lives elsewhere, saying that there is a “stickiness” to London.

Numerous major financial figures, including bank CEOs and senior regulators, have warned in recent weeks that a Brexit transition deal should be struck as quickly as possible to stop any financial exodus. Banks need to make final decisions about moving staff by the first quarter of next year as they need at least a year to set up fully functioning branches and subsidiaries in Europe to maintain activities.

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