Barclays settles on Dublin site as Brexit after-effects continue

14 Jul 2017

Barclays. Image: chrisdorney/Shutterstock

Confirmation finally received as Barclays plays its Irish hand, with Brexit uncertainty seeing banks flee the UK.

Banking passports are central to the early upheaval that Brexit is already causing.

EU rules mean that banks operating within it, and across it, must have a banking licence or passport, received within one of the member states.

Many banks are in a bind at the moment, with their UK passport soon to be worthless after the decision to secede from the EU.

Barclays is one such financial institution and, in response, has landed on Dublin, as expected, for its new official base.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney had previously requested all banks operating in the UK to reveal their plans to ensure continued service to customers there.

Natural base

The bank said: “Barclays intends to utilise an existing, licensed, EU-based bank subsidiary to continue passported activity.

“Barclays Bank Ireland, which has a banking license and which we have operated for almost 40 years, provides a natural base.”

According to The Irish Times, Barclays has decided on a new premises at 1 Molesworth Street, with room for up to 400 employees. The company currently employs around one-quarter of that.

The bank met with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, TD, earlier this week to finalise its plans.

Barclays chief executive Jes Staley previously said that Brexit would be manageable, and the bank could shift around 150 staff to Ireland depending on the outcome of negotiations, according to Reuters.

IDA Ireland is understandably delighted with the news, claiming that Barclays’ presence in Ireland, dating back to 1978, is set for a bright continuation.

“This announcement by Barclays to extend activities at their Dublin base is a further endorsement of Ireland’s strong offering to the International Financial Services Sector,” said Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA.

“Ireland’s access to the EU’s markets and regulatory systems has become increasingly important for Ireland post-Brexit. Companies based in the UK want to retain a foothold in the EU, and Ireland is the perfect location from which to do this.”

Major location

However, Barclays is hardly abandoning the UK. There’s far too much business there to warrant such a move.

In May, for example, it was revealed that the bank had opened a new fintech innovation lab in the city, the largest of its kind in Europe.

Called Rise, the centre is a collaborative space for Barclays to work with start-ups, developers and some of its other corporate clients on projects to “help to create the future of financial services”.

The space can house more than 40 fintech companies, along with banking and technology teams from Barclays, and will serve as a gathering place for fintech events and venture capital communities.

It is expected that it will play host to more than 200 hours of learning, workshops, hackathons and networking on a monthly basis.

Barclays. Image: chrisdorney/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic