Standard Chartered Picks Frankfurt for Its New EU Hub on Brexit

  • Bank is seeking regulatory approvals from BaFin, Vinals says
  • U.K. lender opted for German city over second pick of Dublin

Altman Says London Will Stay a Strong Financial Center

Standard Chartered Plc has chosen Frankfurt for its main base inside the European Union as it prepares for the U.K. to lose easy access to the single market after Britain exits the trading bloc, the bank’s chairman said.

Standard Chartered is already in discussion with the German regulator BaFin about setting up a subsidiary in the city and getting a license to operate across the EU, Jose Vinals said at the bank’s annual general meeting in London on Wednesday. Only a small number of London-based staff will be affected by the move, Vinals added.

Jose Vinals

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

As recently as December, Standard Chartered had been edging toward picking Dublin for its new legal base inside the EU, Bloomberg News reported at the time. Vinals said Wednesday that Frankfurt made more sense as the bank already does its euro clearing there.

As banks accept the growing likelihood that they will lose the automatic right to sell services freely around the region from London, they’re fleshing out plans to for new hubs to secure continued access to clients. On Wednesday, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier ruled out any immediate negotiations on transitional arrangements for the U.K., the central demand that London-based finance firms have made.

Vinals said that Brexit would have no material impact on Standard Chartered, which gets most of its profit from Asia.

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