State-owned Bank of Taiwan (BOT, 台灣銀行), the banking arm of Taiwan Financial Holding Co (台灣金控), yesterday approved plans to set up a representative office in Frankfurt, Germany, as it takes steps to brace for Brexit and deepen its presence in Europe.
The move makes the bank the first Taiwanese lender to take a pre-emptive move against the potential fallout on its European operations from the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“The international situation has changed and merited the expansion,” BOT chairman Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) told reporters, referring to the beginning of Brexit negotiations that might affect the London branch’s business.
London risks losing its title as the world’s financial hub if it can no longer enjoy favorable taxation terms, the free flow of commodities and personnel, and other benefits of EU members following its departure.
The BOT has no intention of shutting down the London branch, but is taking cues from other international corporations by creating an extra base to improve services for Taiwanese firms in the trade bloc, Lyu said on the sidelines of a public function in Taipei.
Most of its peers have voiced their intentions to move from Britain to Germany or France, if necessary, he said.
The BOT assessed locations in France, Ireland, Luxembourg and other countries before deciding on Frankfurt, Lyu said.
It plans to file expansion applications with the Financial Supervisory Commission next month and pursue cooperation pacts with European lenders in November to pave the way for the Frankfurt office, Lyu said, adding that the new office might open in next spring.
The bank is also seeking expansions in other parts of the world to strengthen its global network, he said.
It plans to establish a representative office in California’s Silicon Valley next month, followed by a representative office in Bangkok, Thailand, in December, Lyu said, adding that it is also interested in establishing outlets in the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia.
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