UBS chair Axel Weber: We're eyeing the exit ahead of Brexit because we need a new EU base once the UK leaves

Hayley Kirton
Follow Hayley
Axel Weber has previously said around 1,000 jobs in the bank's London operations depend on passporting (Source: Getty)

The chairman of UBS hinted today the Swiss bank may not wait until the end of Brexit negotiations to move jobs out of London.

Back in January, Axel Weber said about 1,000 of the bank's jobs in London were directly linked to passporting, the complex set of rights which UK financial firms currently use to do business elsewhere in the EEA.

Meanwhile, UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti warned last September his company was considering moving as many as 1,500 jobs out of the UK.

Read more: Revealed: Deutsche Bank has hacked another chunk out of bonuses

Speaking at the IIF conference in Frankfurt today, Weber has suggested some of UBS' London employees could find their jobs being moved elsewhere in the EU before the two-year Article 50 process ends.

"Institutions like ours are faced with very important decisions about how to reshape our operations, given that London will no longer be part of the EU," Weber is reported by Bloomberg as saying. "Two years for us just will not work."

The bank chair indicated he was now waiting for Prime Minister Theresa May to pull the trigger on Article 50, which is due to happen in a matter of days, to pull the trigger on rejigging his bank.

Read more: Lloyds Bank is about to outsource nearly 2,000 tech jobs to IBM

"We cannot postpone decisions on how we run our European operations," Weber added. "As soon as we know definitely that Brexit will happen, you will see decision-making processes kick off in all financial institutions."

UBS is far from the only bank to warn it will need to shift jobs out of the UK because of Brexit.

Read more: Charlotte Hogg quits as Bank of England deputy governor

HSBC was cautioning long before last June's Leave decision was even known that it might need to move as many as 1,000 investment banking jobs from London to Paris, depending on what market access rights the UK could secure.

Meanwhile, Jamie Dimon, boss of Wall Street titan JP Morgan, has said in the past his bank might need to relocate as many as 4,000 jobs currently in the UK. However, last week, the banking boss said he was at this point still "just guessing" how many jobs would actually be affected.