If finance professionals can’t work in London, where do they want to go? Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt have all presented themselves as alternatives. Milan, Madrid and Amsterdam are also seen as contenders.
Most banks have been preparing for the eventually of a Brexit for months, and could be moving their staff to another EU destination within a weeks. Even assuming they’re applying for a banking licence from scratch, the whole process could be done within nine months – 2-3 months for a licence application, and a six months approval process for an investment bank or brokerage, according to regulatory lawyers.
There’s an assumption that finance professionals will simply go where the jobs are. If thousands of trading, compliance, risk and back office jobs head to any one of these financial centres, the local labour force simply cannot fill these jobs.
So, where do people want to work? “If push came to shove, I’d go to Paris,” says one associate at an investment bank in the City. “If they want me to go to Frankfurt, they’d need to pay me a lot more money than the current going rate.”
“My plan is to get out of Europe and transfer to my bank’s HQ in the US,” says another junior banker. “You could not pay me enough to work in Frankfurt.”
This is a common theme and one that may present banks with a headache. It’s not a case of simply transferring jobs, nor is it a traditional offshoring solution – banks need their people to buy into a move. Many bankers are faced with a choice they don’t want to make and – realistically or not – are looking for alternatives to Europe altogether.
“I came here because it was full of the best and brightest people,” says VP in investment banking. “The whole European financial sector will be fragmented no matter where the jobs go. I think you’ll see a lot of resistance to this, and a lot of people will move out of Europe entirely.”
“I personally am relatively calm about the implications,” says an equity capital markets banker. “My bank has already said that no decision will be made for at least six months, and I think advisory functions will stay in London.”
Junior bankers are, of course, worried about the implications of a Brexit in terms of their eligibility to work in the UK. However, predictably, many are equipped with the language skills to work easily in other locations.
“I have dual citizenship (German-Italian) and speak German as well as French, so there would be virtually no problem,” says one first year analyst. “However, income tax rates in France and Germany are worrisome.”
If your finance job moves out of London, where would you rather work? #Brexit— eFinancialCareers (@efc_global) June 27, 2016