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Bank of America to relocate London executives to Paris as part of Brexit plans

The lender is also expected to start moving staff to Dublin next month.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) is relocating three senior executives to Paris as it prepares to shift some of its investment banking operations out of the UK ahead of Brexit.

The bank said in an internal memo that the London-based staff members would make the move in 2019, while “further leadership appointments will be announced in due course”.

“I am pleased to announce, as we advance our Brexit preparations, several leadership appointments that will take effect as we establish operations in Europe,” chief operating officer Tom Montag said in the note to staff on Tuesday.

The head of BAML’s global fixed income, currencies and commodities (FICC) sales division Sanaz Zaimi will be among those relocated to the Paris office to serve as the country executive, alongside the co-head of EMEA G10 foreign exchange trading Vanessa Holtz.

Ms Holtz will also take on responsibilities as the head of EU FICC trading, while Othmane Kabbaj will become head of EU FICC sales.

BAML is also expected to start moving staff to Dublin – which will serve as its post-Brexit EU hub – next month.

Around 125 UK staff working in control and support function roles including finance, risk, compliance, tech and operations as well as wholesale credit will be moved “predominantly” to Ireland from July 2018.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch detailed those plans in a corporate filing earlier this year regarding a cross-border merger of its UK and Irish banks, meant to ensure it can continue conducting business and servicing clients in the EU after Britain leaves the bloc.

Another raft of relocations to other EU offices could follow depending on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, the bank explained.

“The precise number (and timing of) the potential second-phase relocations remains under review,” the bank said, adding that it was also subject to discussions with the Central Bank of Ireland and European Central Bank.

It expects the majority of those roles will head to France, with a smaller number moved to Ireland, Germany and other EU sites, and will again be made up of both new hires and voluntary relocations.

But those who fail to accept a job offer risk losing their jobs.

Bank of America plans to consult affected staff, but any employee which “declines an invitation to relocate to Ireland will be considered for suitable alternative employment, failing which they may be made redundant”, the filing explained.

The company currently has 700 staff in Dublin, under 100 in Paris, and about 6,500 in the UK.

Most of its UK staff are based in London, though around 1,000 are based in Chester, while smaller teams are dotted throughout the country.

The news comes as a number of major firms raise concerns over Brexit, with Airbus last week warning it could pull out of the UK if Britain leaves the single market and customs union in March 2019 without any transition agreement in place.

BMW also recently said that post-Brexit delays in importing components would put operations under serious threat, potentially forcing UK closures, while the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) bemoaned a significant drop in sector investment amid Brexit uncertainties.

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