Deutsche Bank is considering pulling chunks of its operations from the UK in the event of a Brexit, ahead of the EU referendum committed to by the Conservatives during the General Election.
The German lender has reportedly put together a working group comprising execs from its risk, strategy, UK management and research teams, to consider the impact of the UK leaving the EU on its business.
It is thought to be the first big bank to formally start looking at the consequences of the in-out referendum, which is expected to take place in the next couple of years, although HSBC is already mulling a move away from the UK because of tax and regulation.
A spokesman for Deutsche told the FT that clients had recently approached the bank looking for advice on the consequences of a UK exit from the EU, but the working group was separate from that.
It is unlikely to come as a huge surprise to the government, after a flurry of banks and businesses warned they would relocate their headquarters from Edinburgh to London in the event of Scottish independence.
As at that time, however, some critics are viewing Deutsche Bank's move as an early attempt to sway public opinion in favour of remaining within the EU. The lender employs 9,000 people in the UK, and has operated from this country since 1873.
Although it is most likely that Deutsche Bank would relocate its operations back to Germany, US banks including Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have previously said Dublin would be the preferred alternative.