Morgan Stanley heads to Frankfurt

By Teamspirit on Tuesday, 18 July 2017

US investment bank Morgan Stanley has decided to make Frankfurt the location of its post-Brexit EU hub.

The move is expected to double the size of Morgan Stanley’s current Frankfurt operations, with about 200 UK jobs slated for relocation.

Morgan Stanley has declined to comment on the specific details, but it will be applying for a licence with the local German regulator that will allow it to continue trading across the EU after Britain leaves.

The bank will retain its UK HQ, which houses 5,000 staff, but observers expect the Frankfurt office, which currently has around 200 staf, to grow further beyond this initial doubling in size.

With financial institutions requiring sizeable operations in the EU to retain “passporting rights” so that they can operate in Europe from their UK bases without needing extra regulatory approval, we can expect more banks to follow Morgan Stanley’s announcement in the coming months.

As the UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019, we are rapidly approaching the point where businesses will have to start putting their post-Brexit plans into motion in order to avoid major operational problems.

So, we can expect to see similar moves from other major financial players over the following months. The question is, will their announcements be as muted as Morgan Stanley’s or, as the exit deadline nears, will they take a bolder stance to reassure customers about their stability?

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