Barclays CEO Says Finger Not ‘Quivering’ Over the Brexit Button

  • Jes Staley says bank won’t make ‘one momentous decision’
  • Comments follow warning from U.K. banks’ chief lobbyist

Staley: Barclays Focused on Staying Engaged in Europe

Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley said his finger isn’t “quivering” above the Brexit relocation button, just hours after a U.K. trade minister said firms will probably lose their passporting rights to sell services across the European Union.

Staley told reporters on Thursday there would be no “one momentous decision with a great press conference,” but rather London-based Barclays will “make incremental steps” following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. “I wouldn’t say our finger is quivering,” he said.

The comments from the head of one of London’s largest investment banks come after U.K. trade minister Mark Garnier said firms will probably see their passporting replaced with an alternative system, known as equivalence. However, this probably won’t be "good enough" for banks, Garnier said on Wednesday. British Bankers’ Association head Anthony Browne said on Sunday that banks’ “hands are quivering over the relocate button” and will start moving operations out of the country before the end of the year.

Barclays executives said in July they are prepared to shift some of its London operations and jobs to other European cities if passporting is lost. Finance Director Tushar Morzaria laid out three options under consideration post-Brexit, including building up an existing subsidiary inside the bloc, such as its bank in Dublin, licensing existing branches in European jurisdictions for particular operations on a country-by-country basis and relying on “third-country access arrangements” via international regulations.

“We are engaged in active discussions with the British government and our intent and desire is to stay as fully invested in the U.K. as we can,” Staley said as the bank posted third-quarter results.

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