Brexit: UBS's chief Andrea Orcel says the bank 'will definitely' have to move jobs from London

Andrea Orcel said that with Brexit 'we have to anticipate the worst' adding that the bank can’t afford to be optimistic

Zlata Rodionova
Wednesday 18 January 2017 16:03
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The comments from two of the largest investment banks in the City of London underscore the extent of Brexit-related uncertainty gripping the UK’s financial industry
The comments from two of the largest investment banks in the City of London underscore the extent of Brexit-related uncertainty gripping the UK’s financial industry

Andrea Orcel, the president of UBS’s investment bank, has said that the Swiss bank will “definitively move” some of its staff from London to a country within the European Union following the UK’s vote to leave the currency bloc.

UBS, one of the world’s largest managers of private wealth, previously said that London is likely to see an exodus of finance jobs in the wake of the Brexit vote.

In an interview with Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Mr Orcel said that with Brexit “we have to anticipate the worst” adding that the bank can’t afford to be optimistic.

The only question that remains is how many jobs will have to be moved, Mr Orcel said.

He said: “It will very much depend on the agreement the UK will reach with the EU, but yes we will have to move bankers.”

"We have flexibility to decide where to go but we will definitely have to move.”

He explained that if the UK and the EU did not reach any sort of transition deal on Brexit, then some of his staff in London would have to move as soon as the UK government invoked Article 50, the legal procedure to leave the EU.

Theresa May's Brexit speech - five key points

UBS’ choice on where to move its staff would depend on infrastructure, on the nature of the deal the bank can reach in each country, and on the shape of the EU at that point in time, Orcel explained.

On Wednesday, HSBC's chief executive, Stuart Gulliver also said he was preparing to move 1,000 staff from London to Paris.

The comments from two of the largest investment banks in the City of London underscore the extent of Brexit-related uncertainty gripping the UK’s financial industry.

For months, there has been widespread speculation that thousands of financial jobs currently based in London could be migrated to cities like Dublin, Paris or Frankfurt, so that the banks affected can continue to offer their services to EU clients.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May outlined Britain’s plan for leaving the EU in a landmark speech at Lancaster House.

Ms May announced the UK would leave the single market — though attempt to maintain the "greatest possible access" to it — while forging a "bold" trade deal with the EU and similar new agreements around the world.

She said that she will not seek a long lasting transitional period as Britain leaves the EU - favoured by many businesses..

"It is in no one's interests for there to be a cliff edge for business or a threat to stability as we change our existing relationship to a new partnership with the EU," Ms May said in her speech.

"By this I do not mean that we will seek some form of unlimited transitional status in which we find ourselves stuck forever in some kind of permanent political purgatory," she said.

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