Bats Europe exchange mulling new EU base after Brexit vote

Hayley Kirton
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Bats Europe currently calls Lower Thames Street home (Source: Getty)

Bats Europe is considering its non-London options after June's referendum result, potentially establishing a new base elsewhere in the EU.

The exchange, which was started less than a decade ago, has quickly grown from startup status to the largest stock exchange in Europe and is currently housed in Richard Desmond’s Northern and Shell Building on Lower Thames Street.

However, chief executive Mark Hemsley has said in an interview with Reuters, which was published today, he is concerned the City of London will not be able to maintain sufficient access to the Single Market following Brexit.

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Hemsley also indicated the exchange could start setting up its potential second home – possibly in Dublin thanks to the Irish city's similar legal frameworks and labour laws, although no firm decision has been made – as early as next year if there are still no clear signs on the horizon that Single Market access is achievable.

It was also made clear the exchange would still have a substantial presence in London.

"If I look at the current scenarios, the only one that does give certainty to your customers is to actually have an entity within an EU country," Hemsley said. "Until we see a path that tells us otherwise, that will be the most likely outcome at the moment."

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In an earlier interview with City A.M. before the referendum took place, Hemsley dubbed his business "Brexit-proof", suggesting that, while some of the business' resources would likely be shifting overseas, "there would still be a substantial part of our operation in London".

He added in the earlier interview: "[Brexit's] not devastating for our model. And we would move early just to give customers as much confidence as possible to [show them] that we can handle this in either eventuality."

Yesterday, a number of big City figures told City A.M. they were concerned government might drag its heels on organising the Brexit deal and, while they accepted the negotiation period would be lengthy one, they were worried about what the heightened uncertainty would do to business.

Read more: Should there be a second referendum on the final Brexit deal?

There have been concerns June's Brexit vote could spell doom for UK's financial services sector maintaining adequate access to the EU market.

Months before the vote even took place, banking giant HSBC warned it would move 1,000 jobs to Paris if the UK was not able to secure favourable access to the Single Market, for example, under the financial services' passporting regime.

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