German financial watchdog ups charm offensive to woo firms post-Brexit

February 17 2017, 12.51pmUpdated: February 19 2017, 6.27pm
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German authorities have upped a charm offensive aimed at financial firms looking to shift operations to the country after Brexit by launching a dedicated welcome page.

The website for financial watchdog BaFin now hosts a landing page highlighting its willingness to conduct all communication with foreign companies in English, and its ability to “simplify and accelerate” approval around funding requirements and internal risk models.

“Due to the imminent Brexit process, BaFin is paying particular attention to the urgent questions and issues of companies located in the United Kingdom with a view to minimising operational risks and offering a reliable supervisory framework in Germany,” its website says.

It comes just weeks after BaFin hosted around 50 representatives from more than 20 banks in Frankfurt for a workshop which provided guidelines for setting up shop in the country after Britain leaves the EU.

The invite-only event provided lenders with a broad overview of compliance requirements for securities trading, provision planning, and the German Banking Act.

Authorities have been clear that any organisation looking to make the move would have to establish a full team and meet German standards on solvency, liquidity and risk management.

“Companies can make use of extensive outsourcing possibilities which fulfil BaFin’s supervisory requirements. However, BaFin does not accept mere ‘letterbox’ arrangements,” the website explained.

BaFin said will continue expanding the range of material offered in English on its website and has set up a special email address for financial services looking to make the leap.

Commenting on the webpage launch, BaFin assured that “although the backdrop for this is Brexit, the United Kingdom’s planned departure from the European Union, the welcome page is nonetheless aimed at all foreign companies wishing to conduct operations requiring supervision in Germany or considering moving their registered office here”.

Earlier this week, news emerged that Lloyds Banking Group is set to apply for a licence that would convert its Bank of Scotland-branded site in Berlin into a subsidiary in order to secure its European business after Brexit.

It is understood that few jobs would leave London as a result of the move, as the 300-strong branch is already well equipped to serve European clients.

Rival financial centres like Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris are expected to siphon off some of the City’s businesses, ahead of the expected loss of passporting rights as part of a hard Brexit.

Passporting rights allow UK-based financial services to trade across the bloc without needing to apply for licenses in each member state.

HSBC has said it is on course to move 1,000 jobs from its London office to France, while around 4,000 of JP Morgan’s 16,000 UK staff could be shifted abroad, though a potential location has yet to be revealed.

French delegations have been dispatched to London to try to woo more local financial firms to Paris.

Parisian politicians and business groups descended on the Shard earlier this month to meet with more than 60 representatives from UK-based banks, fund managers and insurance firms to hear about the benefits of choosing France as their post-Brexit destination.

It is expected to hold another event later this year.

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