Banks need to make Brexit job decions in the first half of 2017, says Citi's European chief

 
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Citigroup previously warned it could move nearly 1,000 jobs away from the UK if the government was not able to secure passporting rights (Source: Getty)

Citigroup’s European boss has said his bank, and others, will make decisions on Brexit-motivated job moves in the first half of this year.

James Cowles, Citi's chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said his firm’s issue is with its broker-dealer business, which is currently headquartered in the UK.

“We come into this actually from a pretty good position to begin with,” he told a European Financial Forum event in Dublin.

“Because we currently have people in 21 countries across the EU. Of the 19,000 people we have in the EU, 58 per cent of them are located outside the UK.”

Read more: The name's bond: Citigroup fourth quarter results lifted

He noted that Citi shifted its European retail and commercial banking head office from London to Dublin in 2015, meaning “the Irish bank can continue to provide all of the products and services for our clients across the EU going forward”.

But he added: “Our issue is with our broker-dealer, which is located in the UK, and will lose, presumably, passporting rights. So what we’re doing now is looking across Europe and we’re saying: where do we want to establish a new broker-dealer?”

He revealed Citi has spoken to governments in Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands and is evaluating each of the countries.

Read more: Citi could move 10 per cent of UK jobs if the UK loses passporting

Cowles said: “When we take a look at different aspects of our business that are currently in London, there will be some things that we move.”

He added the bank “will be making a decision in the first half of this year”.

“It’s a decision that every bank has to make and they need to do it in the first half of this year.”

It was reported at the end of last week that Citigroup, along with Morgan Stanley, has identified many of the roles that will need to be moved from the UK after Brexit. Sources told Reuters 100 positions in sales and trading will need to be moved.

Citi previously warned it would move nearly 1,000 jobs away from the UK if the government was not able to secure passporting rights.

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