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JPMorgan said in talks for Dublin office as Citi weighs EU unit

Finance Markets / Latest Activity

Ireland

Mar 30 2017

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Neil Callanan  and Jack Sidders, Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is in talks to buy a Dublin office building as the bank considers expanding in the Irish capital as one of its options for when Britain leaves the European Union, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The lender is negotiating the potential purchase of a building being developed by a venture between Kennedy Wilson Holdings Inc. and Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private. The building at 200 Capital Dock has about 130,000 square feet (12,000 square meters) of space, the people said. That’s enough for more than 1,000 workers.

“Other options are still very much on the table,” JPMorgan said in a statement, reiterating comments made two weeks ago. “We want to see how negotiations progress. No final decisions have been made.”

NAMA and Kennedy Wilson declined to comment.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to pull Britain out of the European single market has prompted international banks and insurers to begin looking to relocate jobs to other EU countries. Estimates for the number of people who could move range from 4,000 to more than 200,000.

Citigroup Inc. may move some of its thousands of workers in London out of the city and create a new trading unit within the European Union, Jim Cowles, the bank’s head for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, wrote in an internal memorandum obtained by Bloomberg. The firm will keep London as its EMEA headquarters, he wrote.

“Banks can’t wait two years or more for a deal to be struck on passporting or equivalence,” Bruce Dear, head of London real estate at law firm Eversheds Sutherland International LLP, said by phone. “They have got to be putting contingency plans in place now.”

Most banks are relocating as many as 1,000 workers initially to cities including Dublin, Madrid and Amsterdam with Paris and Frankfurt lower down the list, Jefferies Group LLC analyst Mike Prew said by email. More banks will relocate workers in the coming two years, he said. Lloyd’s of London said Thursday that it would open an EU hub in Brussels by the beginning of 2019.

Dublin is among the locations being considered by JPMorgan for an enlarged EU hub following the Brexit vote. Before the June 23 referendum, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon told U.K. staff that as many as 4,000 people could be relocated in the event of Brexit. In January, he said that number could be even higher -- or lower -- depending on how the government’s negotiations play out.

“There will inevitably be some staff who will be asked to consider relocation,” Daniel Pinto, JPMorgan’s investment bank head, and Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of asset management, said in a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg. “Our size, scale and existing footprint across the continent mean that we have choices in terms of locations and legal entity structure.”

The Irish Independent reported earlier on Thursday that the U.S. bank may move some workers to the Capital Dock building.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

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