Lloyd’s of London pushes ahead with plans to move EU headquarters

Company to decide location ‘likely’ to be on continent in first quarter of year, says chief

Lloyd’s chief executive Inga Beale at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Lloyd’s is pushing ahead with plans to open European headquarters outside of Britain.

Lloyd's of London is pushing ahead with plans to open European headquarters outside Britain after the UK prime minister indicated the country would not remain part of the European Union's single market, according to chief executive Inga Beale.

The company expects to decide on a location “likely to be somewhere on the continent” in the first quarter, Ms Beale said in a Bloomberg TV interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Dublin is believed to be on the shortlist of potential locations.

Prime minister Theresa May’s speech this week “confirmed that to stay in the single market is not a priority and it’s not going to happen and that means we have to go ahead with our contingency plans,” Ms Beale said.

Hard Brexit

British companies are considering their options on how to keep clients in Europe after Ms May stated the case for a so-called hard Brexit, with many making plans to move at least some operations to cities such as Paris, Dublin and Frankfurt. JPMorgan Chase, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group and UBS Group have said they would relocate jobs from London.


Ms Beale said she expected to lose passporting rights and licensing that allows Lloyd’s of London to do business with European companies. Lloyd’s, founded in a London coffee house more than 300 years ago, expects to choose a city for the new headquarters in the first quarter and approvals could take 12 to 18 months, she estimated.

Malta was considered and ruled out because it wouldn’t be able to handle the company’s global business, she said.

The insurance market is suffering from slim margins that could be alleviated as investors move from low bond yields to betting on insurance this year, she said. The US presidency of Donald Trump is unlikely to have a large impact on the industry, though economic growth could boost sales, she said. – (Bloomberg)