Bank of America has its eye on Ireland for a post-Brexit base, as the country urges others not to engage in a red tape race to the bottom

 
Hayley Kirton
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Bank of America is one of a number of firms looking to Dublin as a post-Brexit base (Source: Getty)

A senior executive from Bank of America has revealed today it is considering making Dublin its main EU base if the UK cannot hold onto certain rights, such as passporting, post-Brexit.

The announcement came the same day the country's officials pleaded with other nations not to take part in a red tape bonfire following the UK's departure from the EU, in case it undermined the country's fragile financial infrastructure.

Nikolaus Naerger, Bank of America's head of corporate banking in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, has said his firm is considering moving jobs to various European cities, including Frankfurt, Madrid, Luxembourg and Amsterdam, but is eyeing Dublin as its hub for the future.

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"We will look very carefully who can be the EU passporting entity in future," Bloomberg reported Naerger as saying at an event in Frankfurt today, adding: "Dublin is an emergency, a default option that the bank has."

City A.M. understands the bank has not reached any final decisions on how it will rejig its European operations following Brexit, but the company's existing banking licence in Dublin makes the city a strong contender.

While some of the other financial cities in Europe have been on a charm offensive since June's vote, Dublin has been quietly stealing businesses' hearts. Central Bank of Ireland deputy governor Cyril Roux noted last December that his city had seen a notable increase in the number of authorisation queries from firms established in the UK.

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However, also today, Ed Sibley, director of credit institutions supervision at the Central Bank of Ireland, has warned other jurisdictions slashing financial red tape following Brexit could wobble the country's finely-balanced system. He noted this was even more important than it was a few years ago, as the growth of banks in Ireland with international operations now outpaced that of the country's domestic offerings.

"Together with our colleagues in Frankfurt and in other central banks and regulators we are working hard to ensure that there is a consistency of regulatory approach across Europe, and that there is no regulatory race to the bottom in the search for the crumbs of comfort that are falling from the Brexit plate," Sibley said in a speech to the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland.

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Meanwhile, Eoghan Murphy, Ireland's financial services minister, revealed he had raised concerns with the European Commission that other nations were being too pushy in snapping up firms looking for a new EU hub post-Brexit.

"Other cities in Europe are being very aggressive in trying to win business," Murphy told Reuters, criticising the behaviour as "dangerous competition".

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