France could be €150 billion richer by the end of the year thanks to Brexit, the chief of the Bank of France has said.
Financial firms may shift the astonishing figure across the Channel when the post-Brexit transition period ends, Francois Villeroy de Gala claimed at a banking event in Paris.
The “swift” move of capital includes French groups moving assets home from British branches, and moves by more than 40 UK-based banking entities “to make sure they can keep trading in France”.
He added that a further 31 financial bodies – “mostly investment companies” – have already asked to register in France, with their applications currently being investigated by a market watchdog.
London’s days numbered?
There remains just “a handful of small companies” who “must immediately speed up the process to avoid being caught unprepared in January,” Villeroy said.
A temporary fudge to allow European financial markets to continue using London clearing-houses won’t last forever, he added.
“It wouldn’t be a winning bet to wager on the status quo given the size and concentration of some clearing services,” he said.
“It’s a top priority to address the risks to financial stability from depending too much on clearing houses in the UK.”
Financial services firms operating in Britain have shifted roughly 7,500 employees and more than £1.2 trillion of assets to the European Union ahead of Brexit – with more likely to come.
Close to 400 relocations were announced in the last month alone, according to consulting firm EY. Since Britain voted to leave in 2016, the finance industry has added 2,850 jobs in the EU – with Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin the biggest beneficiaries.
When Britain formally cuts ties with Brussels on 31 December, London will lose its passport to offer services across the EU, having to rely on the bloc granting the UK ‘equivalence’ to do business in the region.
With relations between the EU and the UK fraught at best, and a trade deal looking less likely, there is no guarantee that is granted – spurring firms to beef up their presence on the continent.
JPMorgan has recently moved assets and staff, while Goldman Sachs reportedly is planning to move a further 100 people to Europe.
Before Brexit think-tank Bruegel estimated that London could lose 10,000 banking jobs and 20,000 roles in the financial services industry – which is yet to happen.