HSBC: Clients already re-routing business ahead of Brexit

Some of HSBC’s biggest corporate clients have started requesting that their money is routed through the bank’s offices in mainland Europe, avoiding the UK as a consequence of Brexit-related uncertainty, one of its most senior UK staff reports.

Noel Quinn, HSBC’s head of global commercial banking confirmed that a “small number” of clients want certain trades routed through the bank’s Paris office instead of its London headquarters.

“A small number of our larger clients are asking us to book more of their trade and foreign-exchange activity in their French operation through our Paris office than their UK divisions,” he told news agency Bloomberg.

Executives at multinational corporations (MNCs) are “making plans to ensure they can continue to trade regardless of the outcome. They can’t afford to wait for a decision that may not emerge for two years.” Quinn added.

Uncertainty over what type of deal the UK might strike with the EU means that large companies are concerned that they might lose the right to sell services and goods in the EU, so they are putting contingency plans in place now.

Quinn revealed that some large companies, which he did not name, are also considering whether to “flip” their UK regional head office to mainland Europe.

“Larger companies that already have a pan-European presence are going to find it easier to invoke a Plan B than smaller ones,” he said. “They’re not losing faith in the UK, but the reality is businesses will start making their decisions before the answer emerges from the Brexit process.”

 

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