LONDON — As many as 15% of EU companies with operations in Britain plan to move all of their UK staff out of the country after Brexit, according to a new survey by Swiss banking giant UBS.
UBS’ latest Evidence Lab survey, which surveyed senior figures in 1,200 major corporations across the eurozone, found that almost half have plans to shift a majority of the British staff out of the country, with 28% reporting that they will remove “a large amount” of capacity.
A further 29% plan to move a “small amount” out of Britain.
Beneficiaries of these moves will be countries in the eurozone, the report broadly showed.
The report said: “46% of the companies in our survey said that, should they reduce capacity in the UK and move it elsewhere, this would go to the Eurozone; another 32% referred to EU countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and 29% to other EU countries (not Eurozone or CEE).”
While UBS’ survey is a broad one, focusing on “corporates” — effectively all large companies — fears about shifting staff and operations are most acute in the financial services sector. That’s because it relies so heavily on the so-called financial passport.
The passport allows banks with a base in the UK to sell products and services to customers and financial markets across the EU, but relies entirely on membership of the European Single Market, something that Britain is highly unlikely to keep.
A recent poll of financial firms by Reuters showed that roughly 10,000 workers could leave the capital as a result of Brexit, with numerous banks already confirming that they will shift staff to other EU financial centres, including Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris.