Barclays to expand Irish operation under Brexit uncertainty contingency plan

Barclays has confirmed plans to expand its Dublin operations as part of Brexit contingency plans amid a lack of certainty over future trading arrangements for financial services.

It is understood that the lender's Dublin office could be bolstered by up to 150 staff, potentially doubling the size of its local employee base, though it is not clear whether that would be the result of local recruitment or the relocation of UK jobs.

Barclays did not comment on how many employees would be added to its Irish operations, adding that it was still in discussions with the regulator over plans to use the Dublin subsidiary to continue trading within the EU.

The bank confirmed on Friday that it plans to use Barclays Bank Ireland as its EU hub to mitigate any potential disruption to business after Brexit.

Barclays to expand Irish operation under Brexit uncertainty contingency plan

"Barclays Bank Ireland, which has a banking licence and which we have operated for almost 40 years, provides a natural base and we are engaging with our regulators in discussions to extend its activities," the bank said in a statement.

"While we remain confident of continued deep inter-linkages between EU and UK financial services markets, in the absence of certainty around the timing and composition of an agreement, we intend to take necessary steps to preserve ongoing market access for our customers."

Dublin has emerged as a top destination for financial services and has so far drawn commitment from the likes of insurer Legal & General, which said in May that it plans to locate parts of its business to the Irish capital.

EY's Brexit Tracker, released earlier this month, showed 19 firms have already publicly stated that they will be moving staff or operations to Dublin or other parts of Ireland.

In total, 23 major banks, asset managers and insurers have now established or bolstered their EU subsidiaries in reaction to Brexit, up from 18 in March, according to EY's report.

Barclays added: "We stand ready to refine our plans in light of external developments and will continue to work closely with regulators, clients, colleagues and other stakeholders to ensure that we are able to respond appropriately to any outcome."

The Government said the move was significant and a strong vote of confidence.

Frances Fitzgerald
Frances Fitzgerald

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: "Barclays' decision to expand here highlights once again the attractiveness of locating in Ireland, particularly for companies in the international financial services sector."

The minister said it was "a strong vote of confidence in Ireland's growing importance as a gateway into the single market".

IDA Ireland, which works to attract foreign investors to the country, said Barclays' decision endorsed Ireland's position in Europe.

Martin Shanahan, the agency's chief executive, said: "Ireland's access to the EU's markets and regulatory systems has become increasingly important for Ireland post-Brexit.

"Companies based in the UK want to retain a foothold in the EU, and Ireland is the perfect location from which to do this."

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