UBS boss Andrea Orcel says jobs could be moved from London after Brexit

Andrea Orcel said UBS will require a complete reassessment of the banks’ model going forward

Zlata Rodionova
Tuesday 12 July 2016 14:51 BST
UBS currently employs 5,000 people in London and the location of where staff would be moved remains unclear
UBS currently employs 5,000 people in London and the location of where staff would be moved remains unclear (Getty)

Andrea Orcel, president of UBS investment bank, has warned the Swiss bank is considering moving its staff to a European country, following UK’s vote to leave the EU.

UBS, considered to be the world’s largest manager of private wealth, previously warned that London is likely to see an exodus of finance jobs in the wake of the Brexit vote.

“We would need to consider moving a number of our employees to a European Union country,” Orcel said on Bloomberg TV.

“We would still deal with the UK but the part of the business that is EU business, done from London, would need to be done from elsewhere,” he added.

Orcel did not specify a number but said the impact would be “significant enough“ and will require a complete reassessment of the bank’s model going forward.

UBS currently employs 5,000 people in London and the location of where staff would be moved remains unclear.

May's Brexit vision

“The French government, the German government, a number of governments are making, if I may call it this way, a case for people to move to their jurisdiction. At the end of the day they would like to import wealthy people who spend, who earn, who create jobs for their economies into their own centres,” Orcel said.

UBS’ choice will 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.

In the same interview, Orcel said the bank has finally reduced its headcount to the right size. A different statement from May when the bank said it would cut costs after its profit dropped 67 per cent in the first quarter.

So far no UK bank has officially confirmed it is moving jobs onto the continent but many have underlined they will ultimately do what is best for their clients.

UK banks fear they may lose passporting rights, which allow firms in one EU country to provide services to clients elsewhere in the single market.

Banks are discussing whether they will need to move European headquarters to the continent to keep the same privileges.

HSBC has confirmed that it will keep its headquarters in London despite the shock decision for the UK to leave the EU.

Goldman Sachs has not yet ruled out moving some of its staff out of the UK.

“If passporting was totally removed, we would have to adjust our footprint and where people were located,” Richard Gnodde, the co-head of the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs, said.

Malcolm Barr, an economist at JP Morgan, said in a note: “We expect there to be clear evidence of multinational operations shifting the location of their activity out of the UK given the regulatory uncertainties. Financial services are among the sectors that will be most exposed to this process.”

Francois Hollande, the president of France, has been clear that London will lose its importance as a financial centre because of the referendum result.

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