Bank of America confirms Dublin Brexit move

Bank of America yesterday confirmed it will become the first Wall Street lender to pick Dublin as its new base for its EU operations, as Britain prepares to leave the bloc.

International banks will set up subsidiaries in the EU so they can continue to serve clients, if their London operations lose the ability to operate across the bloc, once Britain leaves in March, 2019.

Frankfurt and Dublin are early winners for banks’ post-Brexit operations and Bank of America yesterday confirmed earlier speculation about its plans to expand in the Irish capital.

“Bank of America has operated in Ireland, and engaged in the local community, for almost 50 years,” said Brian Moynihan, chairman and chief executive of Bank of America.

The bank did not say how many roles would be moved to, or created in, Dublin, where it currently has over 700 staff and a fully-licensed entity, but said that some roles would also move to other EU locations.

“While we await further clarity around the Brexit negotiations, we are making all necessary preparations to serve our clients, however those discussions conclude,” Mr Moynihan said.

The Government, which has been keen to attract investment banks to Dublin, welcomed the news.

“This announcement… is a strong endorsement of Ireland’s attractiveness as a location for investment, and of the Government’s approach to securing Brexit-related activities,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, following the announcement and a meeting with Mr Moynihan in Dublin yesterday.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said Bank of America’s decision marked “another vote of confidence in Ireland, and its expanding financial services sector, and shows that our track record, pro-business environment, highly skilled, talented workforce, and an unwavering commitment to the European single market continue to appeal to investors”.

Details of banks’ Brexit arrangements are emerging, following a July 14 deadline for them to submit details of their contingency plans to the Bank of England.

Wall Street’s Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have both picked Frankfurt as bases for their EU hubs, whilst Barclays has said it is talking with regulators about extending its activities in Dublin.

Morgan Stanley is likely to spread some of its operations across the EU, with its asset-management business expected to go to Dublin, as well. Bank of America is, reportedly, extending its existing lease on its building in Leopardstown. It has also been reported that the bank is in talks on two other office spaces in the city, which would accommodate up to 1,000 employees, giving it the flexibility to add 300 additional staff.

IDA Ireland chief executive, Martin Shanahan, said Bank of America’s expansion here reflects the importance of Ireland as a gateway to the European single market.

“As the only English speaking, common-law jurisdiction in the eurozone, Ireland is well-positioned to provide certainty to companies servicing the European market in a post-Brexit world.

"This is yet another very important signal to the market that financial services companies can come to Ireland and service their European customers with minimum disruption to their business.”

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