JP Morgan Chase bank eyes Dublin base post Brexit

JP Morgan Chase is in talks to buy a Dublin office building as the bank considers expanding in the capital as one of its options for when Britain leaves the EU, according to sources.

The lender is negotiating the potential purchase of a building being developed by a venture between Kennedy Wilson and Nama. The building at 200 Capital Dock has about 130,000 square feet (12,000 square metres) of space. That’s enough for more than 1,000 workers.

“Other options are still very much on the table,” JP Morgan said in a statement, reiterating comments made two weeks ago. “We want to see how negotiations progress. No final decisions have been made.”

Nama and Kennedy Wilson declined to comment.

Separately, Royal London Mutual Insurance Society said yesterday it will turn its Irish business into a regulated subsidiary as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. Lloyd’s of London confirmed it would open an EU hub in Brussels by the beginning of 2019.

UK prime minister Theresa May’s plan to pull Britain out of the single market has prompted international banks and insurers to begin looking to relocate jobs to other EU countries.

Estimates for the number of people who could move range from 4,000 to more than 200,000.

Citigroup may move some of its thousands of workers in London out of the city and create a new trading unit within the EU, the bank’s Jim Cowles wrote in an internal memorandum obtained by Bloomberg.

The firm will keep London as its main European headquarters, he wrote. Financial services firms need a regulated subsidiary in a EU country to offer their products across the bloc if Britain no longer has access to the single market. Most banks are relocating as many as 1,000 workers initially to cities including Dublin, Madrid and Amsterdam with Paris and Frankfurt lower down the list, Jefferies Group analyst Mike Prew said.

Dublin is among the locations being considered by JP Morgan for an enlarged EU hub following the Brexit vote. Before the June 23 referendum, chief executive officer Jamie Dimon told UK staff that as many as 4,000 people could be relocated in the event of Brexit. In January, he said that number could be even higher — or lower — depending on how the UK government’s negotiations play out.

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