Ireland's central bank has been receiving applications for licences from UK authorised financial firms seeking to relocate from London in the wake of the UK vote to leave the EU, a top official said on Thursday.
Cyril Roux, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, said that “several” UK based firms have started the application process to be authorised in Ireland.
"We're seeing applications throughout the whole spectrum. We have applications for new business, the licensing of firms who are not present here but we also see very significant indications from regulated firms that are small today but want to be big tomorrow," Mr Roux told reporters.
"We see the whole gamut of firms inquiring for establishing or growing in Ireland, it is MIFID (markets in financial instruments directive) firms, insurance companies, CSDs (central securities depositories), payments institutions," he added.
It is the first time any minister has admitted Theresa May’s administration is open to the idea of paying Brussels to secure access to the trading bloc for British businesses and immediately led to a surge in the pound.
The disclosure comes as the Government comes under increasing pressure to give more clarity over what kind of deal the UK could seek when it leaves the EU.
Dublin is among a number of European cities seeking to woo firms considering a move away from London to maintain their access to EU markets, and faces competition from Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin and Luxembourg, among others.
UK banks fear that a hard Brexit will result in the UK leaving Europe’s single market and therefore the loss of crucial passporting rights, which allow them to sell their services freely across the rest of the EU and give firms based in Europe unfettered access to Britain.
The loss of these rights could be devastating to the City of London as nearly 5,500 firms registered in the UK use passporting rights to operate in other countries.
Last month, James Bardrick, the UK head of US bank Citi, said the main questions businesses have to answer is how quickly they need to act on contingency plans aimed at protecting their businesses should the UK leave the single market.
Rob Rooney, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley, gave a blunt warning that jobs would have to move back into the EU if Britain was shut out of the single market.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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