BrexitJun 26 2019

Industry spends £4bn on Brexit costs

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Industry spends £4bn on Brexit costs

The British financial services industry has spent at least £4bn preparing for the country's departure from the European Union, EY has found. 

The figure is based on the public announcements of the 222 largest UK financial services companies monitored by EY and includes £1.3bn of relocation costs, legal advice and contingency provisions since the EU referendum. 

It also includes £2.6bn of "capital injections" to scale new non-UK headquarters in anticipation of Brexit. 

The companies monitored by EY include banks, brokerages, wealth and asset managers, insurers and insurance brokers. 

EY found there had been a three-fold increase in the number of statements from financial services companies announcing a "tangible" impact on their business as a result of Brexit over the past three months. 

Omar Ali, UK financial services leader at EY, said only a small proportion of the largest listed companies, 13 out of the 222 firms monitored by EY’s Financial Services Brexit Tracker, had put a number on potential costs, which meant the £4bn figure was likely to be a "drop in the ocean" as companies prepared to do business post-Brexit. 

He said: "The financial impact of Brexit is beginning to fall to the bottom line, and firms are now making a direct link between financial performance and the tangible commercial impacts of Brexit.

"Capital deployed for supporting new non-UK headquarters is value which is not being returned to shareholders or reinvested in UK businesses. Over time some of this capital may flow back to the UK, but currently is a net loss for our economy.

"The past three months have seen most firms to some extent pause their Brexit planning with both planned jobs and assets moves remaining flat. However, in the last few weeks we have seen some firms restarting their programmes and we expect preparation activity for a no-deal to increase markedly throughout the summer."

According to EY investment banks have already moved almost 1,000 jobs to Europe, but many companies have now paused their Brexit planning following the extension of the EU withdrawal to October. 

Among the major financial services players monitored by EY Dublin remains the most popular European city for relocation, with 29 companies either considering or having confirmed the transfer of operations or staff to the Irish capital. 

However, in the last three months EY has reported a growing interest in Luxembourg as a destination for relocation amongst the financial services industry - with 23 companies confirmed to be moving some part of their operations to the city. 

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