Australian bank Westpac is looking at setting up an affiliate in Europe to serve its clients after the UK leaves the EU, City A.M. can reveal.
The bank has conducted assessments of different possible locations and has made contingency plans under the assumption that the UK will undertake a “hard” Brexit.
Westpac, which is the oldest foreign bank in the UK, is intending to apply for an EU banking license early next year depending on how negotiations progress in Brussels.
Talks between the UK and the EU have not yet centred on the future relationship between the two sides because the EU's negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said insufficient progress has been made on the financial settlement.
However, lobby groups representing the City have warned that banks will be forced to carry out their contingency plans if they do not receive more information by the end of the year.
Westpac said that its intention to set up an affiliate in Europe will not alter its presence in London.
Chris Bannister, general manager, Europe & Americas, Westpac, said: "Westpac has contingency plans in place subject to how Brexit negotiations progress. Under all circumstances we will maintain our presence and operations in London. Any application to establish a subsidiary in Europe would require additional resources to undertake activities currently undertaken in London."