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Barclays CEO says London will Remain the “Lungs of Europe”



In one of the more curious comparisons, the chief executive of Barclays has come out to defend the City of London, saying it’ll forever be a crucial part of finance in Europe. A large number of financial institutions have announced their departure from the UK following the Brexit vote. Speaking to the BBC in Davos, CEO Jes Staley said “I don’t believe that the European finances system, our centre, will leave the City of London,” before adding “There are all sorts of reasons why I think the UK will continue to be the financial lungs for Europe.” Barclays is one of the biggest UK banks, and so far, has seemed hesitant to declare any departure from its homeland. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of HSBC Stuart Gulliver, has announced that the bank will be relocating close to 1,000 staff away from the capital. The head of UBS’s investment bank Andrea Orcel, said the bank would also be moving 1,000 workers to mainland Europe.

More staggering is the unconfirmed report that Goldman Sachs would be relocating 3,000 staff, which is half of its UK workforce. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has also stated that their initial estimate of moving 4,000 staff (a quarter of their UK employees), was going to be revised upwards. Barclays has admitted that even they would need to make some changes. “We may have to move certain activities. We may have to change the structure that we use to operate in Europe, but I think it’s going to be at the margin and will be manageable.” Despite their assertion that they will be leaving England, few companies have stated where exactly they would be moving to. Competitors have been lining up and making constant pitches in London and New York, to lure as many businesses as they can. Barclays Chairman John McFarlane is hoping for a three-year transition period for banks. “We have known for months that passporting is not going to happen. We want a standstill arrangement for three years, that would kick in after the government’s negotiations on Brexit are finalised.”


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