Dublin attracts the most companies, but no sign of ‘Brexodus’

Ireland beats out Luxembourg, Paris and Frankfurt, though projects are ‘modest in scale’

The Dublin office market is one of the few areas that stands to benefit due to Brexit relocation activity from London, according to the Knight Frank report. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

The Dublin office market is one of the few areas that stands to benefit due to Brexit relocation activity from London, according to the Knight Frank report. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Dublin has attracted 25 per cent of all Brexit-related company moves so far, pitching it ahead of close competitors Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

However, as a new survey reveals, while it might be the “winner” when it comes to winning projects, transfers from London to Dublin have been “modest in scale” with no signs of a “Brexodus” – or, at least, not yet.

In a survey of company moves since the 2016 referendum, property group Knight Frank has found that Dublin is the clear winner when it comes to UK companies looking for an EU hub, accounting for a quarter of all Brexit-related moves since then, ahead of Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris.

Ireland is out in front in the new project win stakes, attracting 48 projects to Dublin and two to Cork, ahead of Luxembourg (39), Paris (24) and Frankfurt/Munich/Berlin (29). Some of the companies to choose Dublin include JP Morgan, Barlcays, Morgan Stanley, Equilend, Beazley, Royal London Group, Odgers Berndtson and DLA Piper.

‘Negative shock’

“While Brexit is set to represent a negative shock to the Irish economy as a whole, the Dublin office market is one of the few areas that stands to benefit due to relocation activity from London,” the report notes, adding that the city appeals for its cultural proximity to London, and its attractive regulatory and fiscal framework. It says that “ the largest positive impact” for the Dublin office market will be in the tech sector, with “Brexit offering the opportunity for the city to further enhance its reputation as a global tech hub”.

Projects which the Grand Duchy have won include AIG, Blackstone and Northern Trust. Paris, on the other hand, has won projects from Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and Frankfurt has attracted a host of top banking names including Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

However, while Dublin might be ahead in terms of the number of companies it has attracted thus far, these announcements have been “modest in scale”, with Knight Frank noting that “minimal transfers” are taking place at this stage until a clearer picture of Brexit emerges.

Potential projects

Indeed, the mooted “Brexodus” of hundreds of thousands of jobs has not materialised, with Knight Frank noting that a large proportion are still only potential projects.

“Not enough to rattle the power of the City, for now.”

This means that while Dublin is winning projects, it is lacking on the jobs front. Knight Frank estimates that Dublin is expected to win about 800 jobs on the back of Brexit, but this is much less than either Frankfurt (1,570) or Paris (2,308).

This “scattering” of jobs, as Knight Frank puts it, means that people need to keep the idea of the “weakening” of London to the benefit of another European financial market in perspective.

Nonetheless, this could change if an agreement isn’t reached.

“In the event of a hard Brexit, we could see firms scale up these initial footholds to larger footprints,” Knight Frank says.

And the winner is . . .

Number of company moves related to Brexit, by city

Dublin 48

Luxembourg 39

Paris 24

Frankfurt 24

Amsterdam 18

Madrid 10

Brussels 5

Source: Knight Frank