Banks warned of six-month wait if they want move to EU
The European Central Bank has cautioned banking groups looking to shift operations to the EU after Brexit that licensing decisions will require a six-month wait.
It came as part of fresh guidance from the central bank, which has been fielding questions from financial services about setting up shop in the EU after the UK leaves the bloc.
The ECB said the licensing decisions must be made within a year, but could take half that time.
"It usually takes six months from the applicant providing a complete application for a decision to be taken regarding a licence application," it added.
Still, the central bank warned that the process could take more or less time depending on the "complexity", "completeness", and "quality" of the application.
"You should plan accordingly, in order to be sure to obtain your licence on time," the ECB said.
The timeframe is likely to be welcomed by banks which have been working on Brexit contingency plans in hopes of securing a foothold in the EU after Britain scraps single market membership - a move that will subsequently see Britain lose passporting rights for financial services. An approved EU licence would give banking groups permission to trade freely across the bloc.
But successful applicants will have to prove that their EU operations are "robust" and not empty shells, with sufficient local infrastructure, staff and risk management in place.