Sat, Nov 23, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Citigroup calls for Brexit decision as it mulls job moves


Citigroup Inc’s European head has this message for British politicians squabbling over Brexit amid an election campaign: “We need a decision.”

“People have made decisions, spent money on platforms that are ready to go, but aren’t fully functioning yet because moves have not happened yet,” Citibank Europe PLC chief executive officer Zdenek Turek said in an interview in Dublin, where the firm has 2,500 staff. “There is an element of cost associated with that and the same goes for our customers.”

Turek, who started in the role in 2016, suggested that the New York-based firm could move more staff out of London to cope with the ripples from the UK’s exit from the EU, depending on whether clients increasingly shift business out of Britain.

Citigroup is already creating as many as 200 roles in its existing EU locations because of Brexit, with about 60 jobs moving out of London.

Any staff moves will be primarily to Dublin and the Frankfurt-based broker-dealer arm, Turek said.

“There is a combination of our own interests and regulatory requirements, and if we have to move more people to support those functions,” he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting for a Conservative majority in next month’s election to push his divorce deal with the EU through parliament, although it is not clear how long it would then take to negotiate a new trade deal with the bloc.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to reopen talks and then hold a referendum to decide whether to implement the new deal that results.

The Liberal Democrats are campaigning to stop Brexit altogether.

Turek welcomed German Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz’s attempt to move ahead on European banking integration, adding that he would like deeper capital markets as well as a banking union.

Scholz earlier this month suggested that Germany might consider easing its opposition to deposit guarantees, an offer that came with a list of demands aimed at reducing risks in the European banking sector.

“Scholz’s comments were encouraging, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” Turek said.

“What was important is it shows that people are now focused on doing something about it,” he said.

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