Belfast Telegraph

Berlin tipped to become Lloyds' main base in the EU

By Kalyeena Makortoff

Lloyds Banking Group is reportedly on course to turn its Berlin branch into an EU subsidiary in order to secure its European business after Brexit.

The taxpayer-backed lender is expected to apply for a licence later this year that would convert its Bank of Scotland-branded site - which was acquired as part of its HBOS takeover in 2008 - into a separate European division.

It is understood that few jobs would leave London as a result of the move, as the 300-strong branch is already well equipped to serve European clients.

It is currently the only major high-street lender without an EU subsidiary and was previously thought to be eyeing up existing offices in Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

Experts have speculated that rival financial centres such as Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris could end up siphoning off some of the City's business as they court financial services firms ahead of Brexit.

Lloyds would be the first big bank to select Berlin for its EU subsidiary in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The news comes just weeks after Germany's financial watchdog hosted around 50 representatives from more than 20 banks for a workshop that provided guidelines for setting up shop in the country following Brexit.

Lloyds declined to comment.

Financial services firms have been ramping up contingency plans after Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Government plans to scrap access to the EU's single market ahead of key negotiations.

A hard Brexit would effectively remove passporting rights that allow UK-based financial services to trade across the bloc without needing to apply for licenses in each member state.

HSBC has already confirmed that it is on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London office to France, where it already has a full service universal bank after buying up Credit Commercial de France in 2002.

Meanwhile, investment bank Credit Suisse is reported to have taken significant steps towards increasing its presence in the Republic ahead of the March deadline for triggering Brexit.

A number of sources have said that the bank is laying the groundwork for expanding its operations in Dublin.

Late last year, the company registered a new Irish subsidiary - Credit Suisse Fund Services (Ireland) - and over the last four weeks the group has submitted several new documents to the Companies Office in relation to this entity.

Belfast Telegraph

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