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Credit Suisse Said to Mull Dublin Expansion as Brexit Nears

  • Swiss bank already uses Dublin as hub for servicing funds
  • Ireland is courting lenders in race to win new finance jobs

Credit Suisse Group AG is exploring options for expanding in Dublin, as the U.K. moves closer to exiting the European Union, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Irish capital is emerging as a favored location for the bank’s so-called back-office jobs, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because a final decision hasn’t been made. The Zurich-based bank also is considering cities including Frankfurt as it develops plans for moving jobs to adapt to Brexit, said the person.

Credit Suisse board member Noreen Doyle said in Dublin on Tuesday that the bank is in the “early stages” of examining alternatives to the U.K. as it plans for Brexit’s implications. Doyle said the lender is “very pleased” with its existing Dublin operation, as it made the city its primary hub for servicing hedge funds in Europe. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny opened the firm’s trading floor in the city last year.

The company’s executives are “exploring solutions to various outcomes including a hard Brexit and are refining our in-depth analysis,” a Credit Suisse spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We are exploring all options and do not have a preferred location at this point in time.”

Brexit ‘Flexibility’

Ireland is seeking to present itself as a favored destination for financial firms based in Britain that want to retain “passporting” rights, which allow them to do business within the EU. Standard Chartered Plc has approached Irish officials about making Dublin its legal base inside the EU, people familiar with discussions said in December. Citigroup Inc. is evaluating the Irish capital along with other cities, European regional chief Jim Cowles said Jan. 24.

Credit Suisse has banking operations in Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Milan, as well as branches in Lisbon, Paris and Dublin.

International businesses may shift as many as 100,000 jobs away from London within two years of the U.K. officially starting a process to leave the EU because businesses risk losing their passporting rights, Jefferies Group LLC analyst Mike Prew said in a June note. Barclays Plc has settled on Dublin for its main hub inside the European Union after Brexit and is planning to add about 150 staff there if U.K.-based finance companies lose easy access to the trading bloc, according to people with knowledge of the decision.

Credit Suisse’s Dublin operation is classified as a third-country branch rather than a full subsidiary, so it may need additional regulatory clearance to become a base for passporting into the rest of the EU. Still, Credit Suisse is leaning away from Frankfurt because of the cost of living and the difficulty of luring employees to the city, the person said.

“We already provide a comprehensive range of services to our clients through both our London operations and a number of different subsidiaries and branches across the Continent,” the bank spokeswoman said. “This provides us with the flexibility to respond to potential changes in the U.K. and EU financial services industry in the future.”

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