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Money Management

Hard Brexit could result in relocations for London distribution executives

Money managers are hiring risk, distribution and legal staff locally after creating new subsidiaries in Europe, but they add that some distribution executives based in London could also be facing relocation to Europe if a deal between the European Union and the U.K. isn't signed before March 29.

Ernst and Young's Financial Services Brexit Tracker, published Jan. 7, estimates that about 2,000 new workers have been hired in Europe by financial services companies since the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016. Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris were the most popular locations, EY said.

Aberdeen Standard Investment's Jennifer Richards, distribution director in Ireland, said the firm will add a head of compliance and financial controller as well as investment risk and governance oversight staff — another nine roles in total at its Dublin-based operations, which launched Dec. 19 under a new Markets in Financial Instruments Directive license.

A Columbia Threadneedle Investments spokeswoman said the firm has no plans to relocate employees from London, which will remain its regional headquarters.

But the firm does expect to add a handful of new employees to its Luxembourg-based team, primarily in risk, client management and oversight roles, and the process is well underway, she said.

The number of jobs that could relocate to Europe from London in the near future stands at just more than 7,000, according to EY. Money managers that were distributing funds into Europe out of their London offices will inevitably face the prospect of preparing London-based distribution staff for a potential relocation if a hard Brexit scenario materializes, sources said.

Deirdre Flood, head of distribution at Wells Fargo Asset Management in London said: "There is no certainty what the outcome will be so we have made arrangements for some of our (U.K.-based) client-facing people on the distribution side."

"We are not relocating them on full-term basis yet but we are looking for client-facing people to go on six-month assignments to Europe until we have greater visibility into how the future will look," she said.