Brexit won't stop London being 'financial lungs of Europe', says Barclays chief executive

Jes Staley said that the majority of Barclays' European banking business would still be able to be done from the UK

Josie Co
Business Editor
Thursday 19 January 2017 14:27

The chief executive of Barclays has said that – even after a hard Brexit –the UK will most likely continue to represent “the financial lungs for Europe.”

Jes Staley, speaking to the BBC on Thursday, admitted that his bank may have to relocate some jobs to other cities in the European Union after the UK quits the bloc, but said that the majority of the group’s European banking business would still be able to be done from the UK.

“I don't believe that the financial centre of Europe will leave the city of London,” he told the broadcaster. “There are all sorts of reasons why I think the UK will continue to be the financial lungs for Europe”

Mr Staley’s comments come on the back of a slew of other leading banks warning, from the World Economic Forum in Davos, of thousands of job moves as a result of Brexit.

On Wednesday, UBS chairman Axel Weber said that about 1,000 of the Swiss bank's 5,000 employees based in London could be affected by Brexit, while HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said the bank could relocate 1,000 staff to Paris.

German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Thursday that Goldman Sachs is considering moving half of its London-based jobs to Frankfurt and other financial centres because of concerns over Brexit.

But Prime Minister Theresa May, also speaking in Davos on Thursday, hailed Britain as a “hub for foreign investment” and insisted that the country remains “open for business”.

She said the UK was not turning its back on the world, but seeking out new trading partners and allies around the globe - while maintaining close ties with European neighbours.

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