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29 March 2022

Bloomberg: More Bankers Stayed in Brexit London Than Expected, EY Says

Job relocations drop to 7,000, a fraction of some estimates; Public announcements of plans to shift capital have dried up

The post-Brexit exodus of bankers from the City of London hasn’t come to pass.

The total number of Brexit-related job relocations from the U.K. to other parts of Europe since the 2016 referendum now stands at just over 7,000, according to the latest data from consultancy EY. That’s a fraction of some estimates made shortly after the vote amid huge uncertainty about the implications.

Those estimates varied widely. A 2016 PwC report commissioned by lobby group TheCityUK calculated up to 100,000 financial services jobs could be put at risk, the same year that consultancy Oliver Wyman estimated as many as 40,000 could go in another report for TheCityUK. Think-tank Bruegel said in 2018 that London could ultimately lose 10,000 banking posts and 20,000 roles in the financial services industry.

In the months following the vote, announced job moves soared as high as 12,500 as banks and businesses braced for a chaotic divorce. But by December 2021 the number of expected total relocations had tumbled to 7,400.

The flight of capital out of London has also faltered. While 24 firms have publicly said they will shift just over 1.3 trillion pounds ($1.7 trillion) of U.K. assets into the European Union since the vote, that figure has remained broadly unchanged over the past 18 months, EY said in its latest -- and final -- Financial Services Brexit Tracker.

The report doesn’t track how many new jobs the City of London has missed out on as a result of its new status. But it underlines how the worst job upheavals from the U.K.’s break with the 27-member states haven’t immediately come to pass in the Square Mile, some 14 months after Britain broke away from the bloc. 

“Most firms finalized the majority of essential operational moves well ahead of the 2020 Brexit deadline and were able to serve clients in the U.K. and EU without undue disruption,” said Omar Ali, EY’s financial services leader for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. “While numbers have now stabilized, there will remain a degree of fluidity for some years to come.”...

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