Barclays banking on Dublin for post-Brexit world order

3 Jul 2017

Barclays. Image: S Kozakiewicz/Shutterstock

As was widely anticipated in recent weeks, Barclays has settled on Dublin, rather than Frankfurt, as its new EU hub.

On 23 June last year, around 33.5m people in the UK went to the polls, with slightly more than half choosing to end membership in the EU.

The result came as a shock at the time and now, one year later, the ripples of change are turning to waves.

Future Human


Brexit uncertainty

Full withdrawal from the EU is now less than two years away and some companies and organisations in the UK, facing into an uncertain trading future, are scrambling.

Ireland could be the place to benefit.

For example, with the Health Products Regulatory Authority loudly banging the drum, Ireland wants the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to relocate to Dublin. Currently based in London, the EMA is a regulator that conducts scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharma companies for use in the EU. A shift would be huge.

The European Banking Authority is also currently in London, with Irish and German decision-makers awaiting news of where it moves to (Dublin and Frankfurt are likely destinations).

But there are also many private operations with one eye on the map, seeking an escape from the UK back into the border-free environment in the EU.

Barclays HQ

Barclays, a behemoth in the banking space, is one such business, and Dublin appears to be its choice for a new home.

Already employing around 120 in the Irish capital, The Telegraph reports that this figure could double as the bank establishes its EU HQ here.

Dublin is no major surprise. Barclays already has an Irish banking licence, which is significant as financial institutions must have a licence within the EU to operate. The UK leaving the EU means that those reliant on a licence in that market are feeling the push to move, too.

The Irish Times had earlier reported Dawson Street in Dublin as the location of Barclay’s new hub.

Fintech innovation

However, that’s not to say Barclays is abandoning the UK, not when London plays such a prominent role in the fintech start-up space.

Last month, 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.

Meanwhile, flight from the UK into EU locations continues for other operators. Last week, Japanese investment bank Nomura, which already has a presence in London, said it had started to apply for a German banking licence so it could set up a new subsidiary in Frankfurt.

HSBC previously said that it could move 1,000 jobs from London to Paris.

Barclays. Image: S Kozakiewicz/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic