Dublin Leading the Pack for Brexit Banking Relocations

Language & easy links to London are the top reasons

But persuading key staff to move out of London can be a challenge

By: Christine Hall, GMS,


I see that a report by Ernst & Young (EY) suggests that 59 of the biggest financial services companies have definite plans to relocate from the UK due to Brexit.

Of those 59, 19 firms have noted Dublin as their top destination.

It’s reported that chief executives of both JP Morgan and Barclays flew to Dublin recently to discuss expansion plans on their existing buildings, activities and operations in the Irish capital.

EY’s UK financial services leader Omar Ali noted, “The difference three months on from the triggering of article 50 is that we are seeing major financial brands put their contingency plans into action – over a quarter of the companies we track have suggested there will be potential changes to their London base as a result of Brexit.  This process will only accelerate as firms finalise their submissions to the regulators on their Brexit plans.”

Frankfurt is appearing to be the top pick as an EU base for Asian banks but Dublin is leading for City banks.

Ali added, “Dublin already has some of the back-office operations for some large investment banks and an asset management presence; it also has the benefit of being pretty close to London and of being English-speaking… it’s clear that EU operations will need to be proper functioning entities and not just letterboxes.”

Others recently considering the move include investment bank Investec and Citigroup, which already has a major operation there.  Citi is expected to announce later this month how it will handle Brexit.

So why Dublin?  For one, the economy is on course to be the fastest growing in the Eurozone for the fourth year in a row.  Additionally, the corporate tax rulings sit at a straightforward 12.5% which allows for easy Brexit calculations.  In contrast, employment law in Germany is extremely convoluted and bonus caps and pay restrictions in the Netherlands could cause issues.

However, a disadvantage is the ongoing housing shortage still at the levels seen during the financial crisis with only 3,500 properties for rent in the entire country.  Within those 3,500, there are only a couple hundred higher-end homes for incoming, well-to-do bankers.  These include some of the €5m-plus penthouses at Landsdowne Place, near the Aviva rugby stadium.

On the upside, housing prices in Dublin are still 30-35% off of their peak right before the financial crisis.

Be sure to read more on the best neighbourhoods to move to in Saunders 1865’s free Moving to Dublin guide

Tim Payne, head of people and change at accountancy firm KPMG, has his head firmly screwed on when he observes that picking another city to move to may be the easy part compared with the “tough sell” of convincing London staff, and their families, to move.

There is no doubt that Brexit is fuelling a big surge in the international relocation of talent both to and from the UK.  And to persuade employees to move, employers must provide VIP-level relocation support that meets the needs of the individuals and families that are being asked to move overseas from London.

Nobody has more experience in moving employees overseas for top global banks than Saunders 1865 – The VIP Relocation Company. 

If you are responsible for relocating senior executives internationally, or if you yourself are being relocated, discover how top banks support the families they move overseas.  What relocation benefits do they provide and which support programs do senior executives expect?

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