MUFG eyes Amsterdam as post-Brexit EU base

MUFG, Japan’s biggest bank, plans to choose Amsterdam as the new EU base for its investment banking operations to cope with the disruption of Brexit, according to two people briefed on the situation.

The decision highlights the fierce competition between European capitals, which are vying to snap up London’s financial services companies in the wake of Brexit. MUFG’s move also underlines how many of the world’s biggest banks have decided they cannot afford to wait for political uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit negotiations to clear before implementing their plans for a potential clean break between the UK and EU. 

Faced with the likely loss of its passporting rights to sell investment banking services from London to the rest of Europe, MUFG is set to open a second arm of its European securities operation in Amsterdam. 

Such a shift could involve hundreds of jobs moving to Amsterdam out of the 2,100 people MUFG employs in London. But one person briefed on the plan said it would initially affect fewer than 100 jobs. The Japanese group would be the first global lender to pick the Dutch city as its new EU hub to cope with the disruption of Brexit. 

It would mark a break with MUFG’s main Japanese rivals, including Nomura, Daiwa and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, which have all said they plan to make Frankfurt the main base of their investment banks for EU clients. 

The pace of announcements about banks’ Brexit plans has picked up in recent weeks, partly due to pressure from the Bank of England for them to submit their plans for coping with the “worst-case scenario” of a hard Brexit, severing access to EU clients. 

Amsterdam has struggled to attract many of the big name financial institutions shifting operations out of London because of Brexit. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered have chosen Frankfurt, HSBC has opted for Paris and Bank of America and Barclays have picked Dublin

One factor going against the…

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