Barclays has been given the go signal to transfer £160bn worth of assets to its Irish business. It comes as the bank “cannot wait any longer” to implement its no-deal Brexit strategy amid the ongoing political uncertainty.
A judgement that was revealed by the High Court said that the bank is pushing forward with its Brexit contingency plan that aims to transfer all of its European branches into the ownership of Barclays Bank Ireland (BBI) as the exit date draws closer.
The judgement of Mr Justice Snowden said that the scale of the transfer is “huge” and it involves clients across the private banking, corporate banking and investment banking businesses of Barclays.
The judgement stated: “Due to the continuing uncertainty over whether there might be a no-deal Brexit, the Barclays Group has determined that it cannot wait any longer to implement the scheme.”
It added: “In light of the large volume of business to be transferred, the scheme contains a number of phased dates upon which the transfer of the different types of business, and the business of the branches in Spain, Italy and France, will become effective.”
It continued: “The overriding requirement, however, is that BBI must be legally and operationally ready to conduct all relevant regulated business…by no later than 29 March 2019, which is the date currently set for Brexit.”
Approximately 150 to 200 jobs will be created in Dublin as an outcome of the decision, which the bank said will be a combination of new jobs and those that are moving from the United Kingdom.
Barclays is considered as one of a number of institutions that are known to be in the advanced stages of the implementation of a Brexit contingency plan, many of which were triggered towards the end of last year once it was already clear that the UK parliament was not going to approve the Brexit deal of Theresa May.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that the financial services firms of London have moved hundreds of billions of pounds worth of assets to EU centres. A research that was conducted by EY discovered that 20 companies had announced a transfer of assets out of London amounting to almost £800 billion. It will enable them to serve EU-focused clients regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
Industry groups warned that British companies would move more of their business to the European Union if the government does not reach a solution to the ongoing Brexit stalemate.
Catherine McGuinness, the policy chair of the City of London Corporation, stated: “We haven’t seen substantial job losses in financial services materialise yet. However, these are early days.”
She added: “Firms are watching closely to see if a way can be found through the current Brexit impasse. This will play an important role in determining whether we see more jobs and assets move to the continent after we leave the EU.”
A spokesperson for Barclays stated: “As we announced in 2017, Barclays will use our existing licensed EU-based bank subsidiary to continue to serve our clients within the EU beyond 29 March 2019, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.”
He added: “Our preparations are well-advanced and we expect to be fully operational by 29 March 2019.”