Is the love affair over between banks and London?

Towering skyscrapers of glossy glass and steel, a city airport ready to whisk jet setters off to super power cities and enough high-end restaurants to keep even the most fervent gourmet in gout.

It appears all this is not enough to keep the best financial institutions in London, with news that banks are set to quit the capital imminently for foreign shores.

The head of the British Bankers’ Association has warned that forthcoming Brexit negotiations and the actions of EU politicians will weaken London’s stranglehold of the global finance sector, with small banks beginning to move out of London in the coming weeks and larger institutions departing as early as the first few months of 2017.

The issue stems from EU passporting and Britain’s changing status. It is thought by remaining in London, banks will lose their right to access the markets of all 28 EU members – a massive barrier to business. It’s reported that lawyers are already looking into the benefits of moving legal bases away from London to places such as Dublin, Paris and Frankfurt – taking thousands of staff with them in the process.

Our relocation market could change irrevocably in the coming years, with emphasis on settling employees in new worldwide locations rather than finding an influx of international workers homes in London and other major UK cities. But is the news really as bleak as it’s portrayed?

Step in James Quinn – a business journalist at The Telegraph. He has written an interesting article explaining the four main reasons why banks won’t quit London after Brexit negotiations are complete, debunking the apocalyptic vision some would lead us to believe.

It is worth reading Quinn’s thoughts on the scale, cost, rule of law and cultural aspects that may actually keep banks in London’s two main financial hubs – The City and Canary Wharf. Interestingly, the journalist thinks although some jobs will be lost, they will be replaced by other highly-skilled, highly-paid people – perhaps from different sectors. Maybe it’s not implausible to think that creative and tech sectors will one day fill the floors of One Canada Square and the Lloyd’s Building.

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For now, relocation agents should be strengthening their links with clients to see how Brexit negotiations and life outside of the EU will affect their business, and formulating their own contingency plan to accommodate a potential reverse flow of workers.

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