American investment bank Morgan Stanley could move 300 jobs out of the United Kingdom after Brexit and is already looking for new office space in Frankfurt and Dublin, according to reports.
Plans are underway for an initial transfer of jobs to one of the two cities Bloomberg said.
A spokesman for Morgan Stanley told City AM: “Our focus is on ensuring that we can continue to service our clients whatever the Brexit outcome.
"Our strong franchise and material presence in Europe gives us many options, and we will adapt as the details of Brexit become clear. Given all of this, no decisions have yet been made.”
The end of an era?
Morgan Stanley had already threatened to move up to 1,000 jobs out of the UK before the vote to leave the European Union last June.
Its 5,000 employees in the UK make up almost 10 per cent of its global staff, more than all of its other European offices combined. Morgan Stanley has used London as a European headquarters since it first opened its office here in 1977.
London’s so called "passporting" rights, which allow firms to use it as a base for trading with the rest of the European Union, were called into question after Theresa May indicated in her Lancaster House speech on 17 January she will negotiate the UK’s withdrawal from the Single Market.
The City has since faced increasing competition from European cities claiming they can offer a better guarantee of trading rights with the rest of the European Union. HSBC chairman Douglas Flint told MPs in early January that the bank was thinking of moving 1,000 investment banking jobs to Paris.
Competition from the Frankfurters
Morgan Stanley is not the only investment bank lured by London's European rivals.
In mid January UBS publicly confirmed plans to move workers out of the UK, hinting its Frankfurt or Madrid office could be suitable. Just a day later, Goldman Sachs was reported to be considering halving its UK workforce by moving 1,000 jobs to Frankfurt.
German regulators met with over 20 banks at the end of January as part of a campaign to attract business from the UK. Hubertus Vaeth, head of Frankfurt Main Finance, a group backed by local government to promote the city, told Reuters he predicts 10,000 jobs will move to Frankfurt over the next five years.
Vacancy for prime real estate in key European banking districts is, however, very low at the moment.
Whether international banks follow through on plans to move jobs away from the City will depend on the deal Theresa May is able to negotiate after Article 50 is triggered at the end of March.