Lloyd’s of London will open an office in Brussels by the start 2019 in order to continue serving clients in the EU after Brexit, its boss said today.
Dame Inga Beale, Lloyd’s chief executive, said the insurance market will be making appointments shortly, with around 40 employees overall in the Brussels subsidiary.
The UK will leave the EU at the end of March 2019, with Lloyd’s set to open in the Belgian capital before 1 January, subject to approval from the country’s regulators, Beale told Reuters at a Hong Kong financial forum.
Beale said: “That is ahead of the actual official exit, but we run a market and we want to be ready for all of our businesses and syndicates that operate within the market. That's why we are really pushing ahead.”
The Lloyd’s plans could change if the government changes its plans with regard to the EU’s Single Market, Beale said. The EU accounts for 11 per cent of all the business Lloyd’s writes, although Beale said in March that around half of that will still remain in the UK.
"The only thing that might change it ... is any sort of delay to an actual impact of Brexit," she said.
Brussels, the home of the European Commission, was chosen in March because of its regulatory regime, after Lloyd’s had toyed with going for Luxembourg, Frankfurt, and Paris.
The Brussels office has been launched to secure long-term access to the EU, meaning a transitional deal is unlikely to change the Lloyd’s plans.
The government had been informed about the plans in advance, with regular meetings between officials and the company. Beale last week was one of the financial services bosses who met the Theresa May at 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister said the City will be a priority in Brexit negotiations.