Frankfurt front runner for Nomura's new European HQ after Brexit
Japanese bank Nomura has narrowed down its hunt for a post-Brexit European subsidiary, with Frankfurt emerging as the front runner in the latest vote of confidence for the German financial hub.
Nomura currently serves the bulk of its European clients through its regional head offices in London, but the Press Association understands it is considering fully licensing operations in Frankfurt to continue accessing the EU's single market for financial services after Brexit.
The lender already has a branch in Frankfurt, though it is unclear how many London staff may be transferred once a final decision is made.
The bank has around 3,000 staff across its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations - 2,500 based in London.
A Nomura spokesman said: "Nomura has not made any final decision on either location or timings with respect to a new EU entity.
"We have been actively planning since before the referendum took place to ensure that we meet the needs of our regional and global clients no matter what the final terms of the UK's exit from the EU are.
"We will be fully prepared to provide a continued, uninterrupted service to our clients by the time the UK exits the EU in 2019."
Frankfurt is believed to be the favoured destination for Nomura due to the strength of Germany's financial regulator, Bafin, which would be trusted with overseeing the complex financial instruments that the firms deals in as part of its investment banking operations.
It means the bank may be joining Japanese firm Daiwa, which is also understood to be finalising plans for a new European base in Frankfurt, which would be launched with fewer than 100 employees and staffed by a mix of local hires and transfers from other locations including London and Japan.
A Daiwa spokesperson said no decision on location has yet been made.
Daiwa and Nomura were represented during a meeting between British Government ministers and Japanese executives, who warned at the end of last year that operations would leave London within six months unless passporting for financial services was secured.
Germany has also received a vote of confidence from Lloyds Banking Group, which is expected to apply for a licence later this year that would convert its Bank of Scotland-branded branch in Berlin into an EU subsidiary.
It is understood that few Lloyds jobs would leave London as a result of the move, as the 300-strong branch is already well equipped to serve European clients.
Rival financial hubs across the EU including Dublin, Luxembourg, Amsterdam and Paris are still in the running to attract financial services, and a number of major banks including JP Morgan have yet to settle on a location.
Chief executive Jamie Dimon has said that around 4,000 of its 16,000 UK staff could be shifted out of Britain depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.