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Citigroup, Deutsche Bank beef up Frankfurt presence in Brexit response
July 20, 2017 / 12:38 PM / 2 months ago

Citigroup, Deutsche Bank beef up Frankfurt presence in Brexit response

FILE PHOTO: A Citi sign is seen at the Citigroup stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Two global banks, Citigroup (C.N) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), are beefing up their presence in Frankfurt to deal with the impact of Britain leaving the European Union.

U.S. bank Citigroup said on Thursday that it may need to create 150 new jobs in the EU, as it confirmed it would headquarter its EU trading operations in Frankfurt.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer John Cryan said in a video published on Thursday that the German lender expected to add new jobs in Frankfurt, where it will replicate a structure that is interchangeable with its London operations and evolve as Brexit negotiations unfold.

Details of banks’ Brexit arrangements are starting to emerge following a July 14 deadline for them to submit details of their contingency plans to the Bank of England.

“It’s important not to wait until the 11th hour and 59th minute,” Cryan said in the video to staff outlining Deutsche’s Brexit planning strategy.

Citi is one of several banks opting to build up a subsidiary in Frankfurt so that its trading operations in the EU can continue without too much disruption when Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

“Frankfurt is our first choice for headquartering our EU broker-dealer based on the existing infrastructure, and the people and expertise we already have on the ground,” Jim Cowles, the bank’s head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) said in a memo to staff.

He added that the bank also planned to build up its private banking, treasury and trade and investment banking businesses in the EU, while the bank’s London office would remain its EMEA headquarters.

This would be done by “increasing over time our footprint in other key EU cities including Amsterdam, Dublin, Luxembourg, Madrid and Paris”.

Banks have indicated that while they may pick one EU center to be their main regional subsidiary in the bloc, they are likely to spread their operations across several countries.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on July 11 that his bank would probably use Frankfurt as the legal domicile of its European operations after Brexit, but that jobs may be put elsewhere as well.

Deutsche Bank employs about 9,000 people in Britain and expects London to remain vital to the bank as one of the world’s two most important financial hubs. It currently books most of its business through London.

But the Frankfurt-based bank with a London branch is planning for a “hard” Brexit that would entail a loss of so-called passporting rights between Britain and the EU. Cryan termed it a “reasonable worst-case” scenario.

The bank’s plans to replicate its London booking operations in Frankfurt will initially mean added jobs to Frankfurt, though it could later result in jobs moving to Frankfurt from London, depending on how Brexit negotiations play out, Cryan said.

“We build replicate infrastructure in Frankfurt, and over time if we end up, because of the actual Brexit, rebooking everything into Germany, Frankfurt, then there will be roles in London that get eliminated or moved,” Cryan said.

“People may not, but the role would move to Frankfurt,” he said, without mentioning the number of people or roles.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned in April that EU banks’ wholesale branches in Britain may have to convert into subsidiaries after Brexit, which would require banks like Deutsche Bank to put a lot more capital into its London operations.

Reporting by Rachel Armstrong and Tom Sims, editing by Maiya Keidan and Adrian Croft

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