London court approves Barclays shifting €190bn assets to Dublin

Group chief had said last October the lender was 100 per cent ready for a hard Brexit

The court judgment, which was dated January 29th, said  that Barclays “cannot wait any longer”. Photograph: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

The court judgment, which was dated January 29th, said that Barclays “cannot wait any longer”. Photograph: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire

 

The London High Court has approved a plan by London-based banking giant Barclays to move some £166 billion (€190 billion) of assets to its Irish subsidiary to deal with the fallout of Brexit.

Group chief executive Jes Staley said last October that the lender was 100 per cent ready for a hard Brexit, as he disclosed then that Central Bank of Ireland had given him the green light to expand the Barclays Bank Ireland to maintain access to clients in the European Union.

The court judgment, dated January 29th, said Barclays “cannot wait any longer” and that the plan to shift tens of billions of pounds of assets to Dublin was a “carefully crafted and fair proposal” to deal with problems for the group and its clients “caused by the continued risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit”.

Sources had previously said the scale of operations that Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch were planning to build up in Ireland to deal with the UK’s exit from the EU will lead to both coming under the direct supervision of the European Central Bank’s supervisory arm, alongside mainstream Irish banks such as Bank of Ireland and AIB.

New offices

Barclays said in investor presentations published last year that it expected Barclays Bank Ireland to ultimately hold £224 billion of assets, which would make it the biggest bank in the Republic. The group has previously outlined that it will add up to 200 new employees in Dublin, having moved into new offices at One Molesworth Street in Dublin city centre recently.

This week’s ruling said that the London High Court was prepared to transfer “some, but not all” of the business of the group’s Barclays Capital Securities Ltd (BCSL) unit to Ireland. It noted that counsel for Barclays had “indicated that given the limited number of clients who have dealt only with BCSL, such a conclusion ought to be manageable by bilateral arrangements outside the scheme”.

The judge, Mr Justice Richard Snowden, said that he would be willing to consider amendments from the bank regarding its list of “in-scope clients”.