Prospect of no-deal Brexit sees Barclays shift €190bn to Dublin

31 Jan 2019

Barclays branch in Reading, England. Image: thinglass/Depositphotos

Barclays has been given the go-ahead to transfer billions of euro in assets to Ireland as Brexit contingency planning continues.

Banking giant Barclays is to move €190bn (£166bn) in assets to Dublin as it “cannot wait any longer” to follow through with its Brexit contingency strategy. The high court in London gave the move its seal of approval on Tuesday (29 January).

The plan was created to deal with the possibility of a no-deal hard Brexit, which would see banks based in the UK lose passporting rights and therefore be blocked from trading in the EU single market.

The company said: “As we announced in 2017, Barclays will use our existing licensed EU-based bank subsidiary to continue to serve our clients within the EU beyond March 29 2019, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

“Our preparations are well advanced and we expect to be fully operational by March 29 2019.”

Thousands of clients involved

According to the high court, the move involves approximately 5,000 clients and amounts to around 15pc of the £1.2trn in total assets. The business was previously conducted in the UK through branches across the EU.

Barclays was required to ask the high court for permission to transfer the business, which took place in Barclays branches in countries such as France, Germany and Italy, among others.

The bank’s Dublin arm is set to double in size to 300 people as a result of the strategy. Last month, the company took out a 20-year lease on a Molesworth Street property in the Irish capital.

Hard-Brexit fears influenced the move

Justice Richard Snowden said: “Due to the continuing uncertainty over whether there might be a no-deal Brexit, the Barclays group has determined that it cannot wait any longer to implement the scheme.”

He added: “In light of the large volume of business to be transferred, the scheme contains a number of phased dates upon which the transfer of the different types of business, and the business of the branches in Spain, Italy and France, will become effective.

“The design of the scheme has been based upon an assumption that there will be no favourable outcome of the current political negotiations between the UK and the EU as regards passporting or the grant of equivalence status to the UK in respect of financial services.”

Barclays joins Bank of America in moving certain operations from London to Dublin, in an effort to mitigate the issues a no-deal Brexit could cause.

Barclays branch in Reading, England. Image: thinglass/Depositphotos

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects