Barclays selects Dublin for new European HQ


Barclays has chosen Dublin as its European home in a post-Brexit world, as the banking giant makes plans to retain its single market access if and when a hard Brexit comes to pass. 

Bloomberg reports that Barclays started scouting the Irish capital for office space earlier this month and has been in discussion with regulators regarding expanding its Dublin operations. This contingency plans to make Dublin its EU hub will allow it to continue serving clients on the continent even if British Prime Minister Theresa May is unable to secure a transitional or permanent trade deal for London during the two-year renegotiation period.

Barclays said in a statement:

"We have made clear repeatedly that we will plan for a range of Brexit contingencies, including building greater capacity into our existing operations in Dublin.

"Identifying available office space is a necessary and predictable part of that contingency planning process."

Other major financial institutions look set to follow Barclays' lead, with Bloomberg also hearing that Credit Suisse group AG is exploring options to expand in Dublin. It became Credit Suisse's chief hub for servicing hedge funds in Europe last year and could seek regulatory approval to upgrade to a full subsidiary. Frankfurt is also in the running for its back office jobs.

Ireland's experience with 'profound challenges'

The announcement comes just a few days on from Taoiseach Enda Kenny called directly for UK businesses to relocate on Irish shores.

Speaking to the European Financial Forum at Dublin Castle on Monday, he made the case that the country is well-prepared to deal with an uncertain post-Brexit economic landscape.

He said:

"We've demonstrated a capacity to deal effectively with profound challenges – none more so than the depth of the recession that this country went into.

"We've got a clear plan and clear response to the challenges that Brexit will present... We're prepared to negotiate hard and fair when these discussions begin.

"The Government has made a public declaration of interest in Ireland becoming the location of the European Banking Authority, with a bid being led by the Department of Finance in collaboration with other State agencies".

"After the UK's exit from the EU, Ireland will be English-speaking, common law country in the European Union.

"And we will continue to offer a stable, predictable and a certain business environment – alongside continued access to the European market of over 400 million people.

"I know that many of the UK-based financial service companies are considering moving some, or all, of their operations in the light of Brexit – and Ireland in that context remains an obvious choice for those wishing to maintain a presence in the single market."

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said:

"The European Financial Forum is an opportunity for senior industry decision-makers, policy-makers and academics to discuss how they see the European and global financial services industry evolving."

"I expect the implications of a British exit from the European Union will form a large part of our discussion's today. The outcome of the UK Brexit referendum has created the need for companies to reconsider their European footprint - and IDA will be explaining why Ireland is the most attractive location in which to invest in a post-Brexit world.

"Ireland's proposition of EU market access, regulatory passport, global product distribution, cost effectiveness, deep domain knowledge, innovative technology offerings and superior customer service together with English language and a Common Law system will continue to prove compelling to financial services companies."

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