Tyrie warns banks over hasty exits

THE chairman of the influential Treasury Select Committee yesterday warned UK banks against making a sudden move offshore, after City A.M. revealed Barclays was weighing up the cost of quitting the UK.

“My thought should be to say that the global commercial environment for financial services and banking is likely to remain unclear for some time, including regulatory structures,” Andrew Tyrie said.

He added: “Given that, I would have thought that many boards would think twice before taking precipitate action to move elsewhere.”

On Thursday, City A.M. revealed that senior Barclays executives had begun trying to work out whether it would be economically worthwhile moving offshore, most probably to New York.

Like other banks, Barclays has been hit by the one-off bonus tax, the bank levy, a raft of restrictions on bonuses, the threat of a forced break-up, and the raising of the top rate of tax from 40p to 50p.

However, Tyrie pointed out that the regulatory environment in the US is also far from stable. Earlier this year, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank bill into law, severely limiting the amount of proprietary trading that banks could engage in.

Barclays has declined to go into details about the thoughts of its senior directors on making a move. But it confirmed that it was exploring all its options.