London lord mayor says Dublin top post-Brexit choice for business

Parmley says financial services relocating should choose Dublin not Frankfurt or Paris

City of London

City of London

 

Dublin is a better choice than Frankfurt or Paris for financial services companies moving operations from London because of Brexit, the lord mayor of London Andrew Parmley has said. But the lord mayor who represents the City of London and the broader British financial services industry, said the movement of people out of London has been smaller than anticipated.

“If I were the person making the decision to leave the UK, I think I would be thinking of Dublin before anywhere else,” he told The Irish Times.

“I would put Dublin ahead of Frankfurt or Paris because of the language question. Communication is an enormous benefit. If I can pick up the phone with someone in Dublin, we’re talking straight away. But I think the real threat to all of us, the whole 28 [EU member states], is New York and I think we’re not going to see as much movement within Europe as we see elsewhere.”

 Dr Parmley will be in Dublin next week for meetings with the governor of the central bank, Philip Lane, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál MacDonncha, as well as business figures. He will also travel to Belfast and Derry to discuss business development in Northern Ireland.

 The City of London has been lobbying the British government for a soft Brexit but the lord mayor said that the priority now was to ensure London and Brussels agreed by the end of this year that there would be a transition period after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

  “We don’t need any information other than that transition is now agreed. That will stabilise the workforce position I believe. But without that stabilisation, big companies have been putting in place their contingency plans,” he said.

  “The big players particularly have been making their plans. Their board of directors, their shareholders and indeed the regulator would expect them to because if you have customers throughout Europe you have to be able to continue to serve your customers, and business follows customers. That said, thus far we’ve not seen a lot of movement. JP Morgan has doubled its European workforce from 500 to 1,000 but that leaves 14,000 here in London.”

 Dr Parmley cited the example of Lloyds of London, the insurer, which was reported to be planning to move thousands of staff from London.

 “In the end, they’ve opened an office in Brussels for 100 people. Only 10 people have gone from London to Brussels and the chairman has told me he expects to see those 10 people back. But that isn’t to say we’re not on the cusp of something much bigger,” he said.

 British prime minister Theresa May said in Manchester this week that the government was preparing for every eventuality, including leaving the EU with no deal. Dr Parmley acknowledged that such a scenario would be the worst possible one for the City but insisted the Square Mile would take it in its stride.

“If there is a bad deal we’ll face it. We’ll deal with it in the same way that we dealt with the Great Fire of London and the Blitz and everything else before,” he said.