There’s little doubt that London-based banks and financial services firms, while retaining their London presence, will need to move some of their people to European hubs because of Brexit.
But these moves will need to be made as easy as possible on the people concerned. How will they do that?
Banks have been busy establishing new European hubs in places like Frankfurt, Dublin, and Paris.
They are now preparing to make final decisions on the individuals that they’ll be moving out of London. It will be important to manage all these moves efficiently and sensitively to minimise the disruption to the lives of the affected individuals and families. That’s best achieved by outsourcing as much of the role as possible to the right external experts. These HR and admin staff in these firms simply don’t have the spare time, nor the specific expertise, to do all that needs to be done – on time and on budget.
Getting this right is crucial to retaining talent, creating goodwill and maintaining profits. Get it wrong and, ……..well, you get the idea!
Put yourself in the shoes, for example, of a banking executive (let’s call her Samantha) that you need to move to Frankfurt. You tell her that she’s being moved to Frankfurt.
But Samantha LOVES living in London – and so does her partner, Peter, who has a decent job in IT support.
When you first break the news of this decision to Samantha it’s a really good idea to be able to say that you have retained a relocation firm to support and help her with every aspect of her move to Frankfurt. In fact, a wonderful lady from that relocation firm called Ann will be contacting her immediately to discuss the moving process and any immediate aspects of concern to Samantha. When Ann speaks to Samantha she will also go over the relocation assistance and benefits that the bank will be providing to make the move as easy on her and Peter as possible.
This first conversation is absolutely crucial and it pays huge dividends to make sure it’s handled skilfully.
People like Samantha tend to talk much more freely with an independent expert. After this conversation, the relocation expert will be able to report back what needs to be done to make this relocation successful. Alternatively, you may even discover when Ann reports back that the bank would be wise to select another person to transfer overseas. It’s far better to find this out at this early stage rather than wasting a lot of time and money on a failed transfer.
So what are some of the key matters for an employee like Samantha that will make her relocation abroad easier for her, Peter and the bank?
- London home:
If Samantha and Peter are currently renting in London, the lease will need to be terminated in the most cost-efficient manner possible. An expert should review the lease and provide comprehensive lease termination assistance from service of a proper notice on the landlord to handling any dilapidations claim and recovering the tenants' deposit. A formal surrender of the tenancy may have to be negotiated and correctly implemented.
If they own their London home, an expert should help them decide the best course of action. Should they retain it or rent or sell it?
Whichever route they decide to go down, tailored support and independent, professional advice by relocation experts will be of huge value to the couple, as well as to the employer.
- Frankfurt home:
Samantha and Peter will obviously be concerned about where they will live in Frankfurt, how they will find accommodation and what sort of home they can expect for their budget.
If they are not familiar with the city, they may need a pre-reporting trip. The relocation firm will be able to arrange an orientation or “look see” tour to help Samantha and Peter decide where they want to live and the type of property they can likely afford.
The next step would be to provide home finding assistance via the relocation firm’s local expert in Frankfurt to help them find their ideal rental home. This will involve comprehensive rental search assistance, lease negotiation and set up.
Depending on the specific circumstances and timeline, it may be necessary to arrange temporary accommodation in the city while the long-term rental property is being sourced. Again the relocation expert will handle all that. We can take care of the whole booking, manage the entire process for the employer – and provide help and support throughout the stay, not only to Samantha and Peter but also to the employer.
As always, we represent the tenant’s side of the transaction and are entirely independent of any landlord or housing provider.
- Peter’s job:
The elephant in the room may well be Peter’s job. It should not be overlooked. Indeed, all his needs around the move must be carefully assessed and considered. An unhappy Peter will inevitably mean an unhappy Samantha and a potential crisis point. Never neglect this aspect. The relocation firm should be able to provide a Spousal Assistance Program that will is tailored and personal to their situation.
- Settling into life in Frankfurt:
Quite apart from finding accommodation, there are all sorts of details around moving to and living in a foreign city that the couple will need help with. These include such aspects as:
- Assessing their personal, lifestyle needs and interests
- Providing them with a tailored Welcome Pack about the local area (e.g. sports/leisure clubs and local shops/markets/amenities, entertainment facilities etc.)
- Assisting them with opening bank accounts; hooking up broadband, cell contracts etc.
- Providing advice with signing up for local health services (e.g. doctors and dentists)
- Assisting with Driving licences & transportation
The above is far from an exhaustive list. As I’ve said, the actual settling-in support should be personal and tailored to them.
And there should be an element of ongoing support for the early part of their time in the new city. After all, a lot of issues can show up only after they’ve moved into their new rental home. They should not be left to feel abandoned during the early stages of their time in the new city. It’s a very sensitive time and if things go wrong and they don’t have the help they need, they may well “call the whole thing off” as the song goes!
Failures of this kind can get very expensive indeed for the employer!
It doesn’t apply to Samantha and Peter but when relocating some families there will be a need to address the issue of the children’s education.
Relocation experts as part of their role help families find the right schools for their children and assist them with navigating what can be a complex application process.
As far as making their relocation to Frankfurt a success, everything flows from that first interaction between Samantha and Ann, the relocation expert. If that briefing and two-way consultation are handled skilfully, Samantha and Peter will immediately feel more relaxed, confident and settled in their minds that the bank cares about them, values them, and will support them through the whole moving process.
At Saunders 1865 – The VIP Relocation Company, we’ve been successfully moving people for top banks and financial firms for more than three decades. If you’d like to find out more about our services, do reach out to us using this contact form or call us on +44 20 7590 2700. Let’s get a conversation started.
The entire Saunders 1865 team was fantastic. They were patient, were able to incorporate all of our requirements for housing, and handled every negotiation and interaction professionally. Everything with our move went very smoothly, and we appreciated their willingness to answer every question.
Christopher Tucker, New York
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