Brexit may not have created tens of thousands of finance jobs in Europe, but it has certainly created some. - As our German site observed yesterday, Standard Chartered's headcount in Frankfurt has gone from 100 to 200 in the past year, with a focus on risk management, compliance and legal roles. More jobs are likely when Brexit - or non-Brexit - coalesces into a more discernible shape. Already, however, Brexit preparations are also giving rise to a different sort of position: that of the European 'chaperone.'
The need for post-Brexit chaperones has been knocking around for a while. Risk Magazine suggested chaperones were coming last October and the Financial Times observed in April that banks in London would need post-Brexit chaperones to sit in on calls and in meetings with EU clients. Under 'chaperoning,' UK-based individuals will fly in to European jurisdictions and conduct activities under the supervision of an authorized firm, says EY.
Spotting a gap in the market, it seems that some consultancy firms are moving into the 'chaperoning space'. Laven Partners, a global compliance consultancy working with the asset management industry, has set up a company in Luxembourg (Lumen) to allow UK-based clients who want to liaise with EU clients to dispatch chaperones to work under its EU entity.
Lucy Balicki, an associate director at Laven Partners, says the company is ready to "push the button" on new consultants in Luxembourg if there's a hard Brexit. "Lumen could grow significantly in the next few months when there is more clarity politically, but also because we help with any distribution providing oversight for products or advising investors." In most cases, chaperones will be employed by clients, not by Laven, which will simply provide the regulatory umbrella for them to operate.
What makes a chaperone? Presumably, chaperoning will require prior experience liasing with clients and a willingness to travel. European sales traders looking for a new role on the continent might be interested; so too might semi-retired M&A bankers looking for something different.
It's not clear how active chaperones will need to be: the role has the potential to be passive, with chaperones simply sitting in on communications between UK-based individuals and clients in Europe.
The post-hard-Brexit alternative to chaperoning is 'reverse solicitation', in which EU clients approach UK firms directly. This too has the potential to create work (and jobs) at firms like Laven Partners. Reverse solicitation will, "require some very heavy documentation" as ESMA has asked EU regulators to be very diligent when people are advising EU clients from the UK, says Balicki.
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