Remember that mass exodus from the City of London that was supposed to happen after the vote to Leave? In October British Bankers’ Association boss Anthony Browne predicted major banks would relocate in the first few months of 2017. The Observer reported:
“Britain’s biggest banks are preparing to relocate out of the UK in the first few months of 2017 amid growing fears over the impending Brexit negotiations, while smaller banks are making plans to get out before Christmas.”
At the time Guido offered Browne a £1,000 bet that not one leading bank will give up its UK banking licence next year to relocate to the EU.
As we enter March, even the City’s Remain-campaign-funding house journal Bloomberg is wondering “Are banks bluffing?”. Today they quote several City bosses who believe talk of an exodus is bluster. Jason Kennedy, CEO of finance recruitment firm Kennedy Group says:
“[The banks] are a bit like dogs backed into a corner and barking — it’s just noise. This is all about applying as much pressure as possible on the government to get the best deal. What have the banks have got to lose? Scream the house down and see what happens.”
“Barclays is planning to move only 150 jobs from London, if any”, Bloomberg reports, quoting their CEO Jes Staley:
“We don’t believe Brexit will result in a significant move of people away from London.”
A “senior bank executive” believes “The banks are bluffing” and HSBC won’t move as many people as they have been threatening. And “One European banking boss quipped that the only way France would be top of his list would be if you turned it upside down”. Guido’s bet is still open to any takers…