After Theresa May, the UK prime minister, last week delayed a vote on her deal to leave the EU, wealth managers in London contacted their top customers to warn that a prolonged period of “turmoil” had already caused a rush of clients wanting to “move assets offshore”.
Ultra-wealthy clients were advised that they might want to “accelerate” similar plans before the rescheduled vote in parliament in early January, according to people familiar with the matter.
The pitch by the private bankers follows a trend of London’s super-rich shunning UK-based assets and diversifying their portfolios outside of the country, particularly using offshore centres, amid fears of both a no-deal Brexit and the possibility of the leftwing Labour party being elected if Mrs May’s Conservative government falls.
Multimillionaires are setting up investment accounts in places such as the Channel Islands and Switzerland, or are shifting the location of UK-registered trusts holding their wealth to outside the country, the Financial Times reported in October. Some are even preparing to emigrate rather than risk becoming subject to a “wealth tax” that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has floated in a previous manifesto.
Other wealth managers the FT spoke to said that while they had also noted a marked uptick in concern about the political climate, it was unusual to write to clients explicitly suggesting they move their assets out of the UK. [...]
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