Anglo-South African financial services group Investec is committed to the UK despite uncertainty around Brexit, its co-founder has said.
The firm, which has asset management, wealth management and banking divisions, currently has a headcount of around 3,900 in the UK and 5,000 in South Africa.
Since the UK voted for Brexit last year, banks and other financial services firms have been putting in place plans to move jobs from London to continental Europe.
“None of that for us,” Investec’s managing director Bernard Kantor told City A.M. “We’re a domestic business, we focus on the UK markets.”
He added: “And we will be there to take advantage of all the others leaving. I hope.”
Investec already has a banking office in Dublin, which may need a new licence after Brexit, and an asset management office in Luxembourg.
Despite the firm’s “absolute” commitment, Kantor believes the UK is in for a “very tough time” in the near future.
“I think that we’re going to see inflation moving up through the second half of this year because, clearly, when you’re currency devalues the way that sterling has, it’s got to have some effect,” he said. “I think into next year and the year after, it may balance out.
“I think we’re in for a very tough Brexit negotiation. I don’t think there’ll be any soft Brexit, I think it’s going to be quite tough. And we need to get our minds attuned to that. I think everybody’s walking around thinking that this is going to be a walk in the park. I do not believe that that’s the case.”
Despite a “volatile period”, Investec today reported revenues had broken the £2bn mark for the first time. Ongoing operating profit was reported at £663.7m, up 13.7 per cent. The firm also increased its dividend by 9.5 per cent to 23p.