MUFG Picks Amsterdam for EU Securities Base After Brexit

  • Japan’s largest bank will also set up Paris branch: people
  • Contrasts with Japanese peers that have chosen Frankfurt

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest bank, has chosen Amsterdam as a base for its investment-banking business in the European Union after the U.K. leaves the bloc.

The firm’s securities unit has decided to apply for a license to establish a subsidiary in the Dutch city, it said in a statement on Wednesday. MUFG also plans to set up a securities branch in Paris, people with knowledge of the matter said. Reuters reported earlier that the bank will move several dozen people from London.

MUFG, which already holds a license for commercial banking in the Netherlands, had been weighing both Amsterdam and Paris for its securities operations post-Brexit, Bloomberg reported in July. Global banks are preparing to set up or expand offices in the EU to maintain access to the market before the U.K. formally leaves the union in 2019. 

The new Amsterdam unit will ensure that MUFG can continue to provide securities services to its EU clients even if its London business loses the so-called passporting rights that allow it to operate across borders, it said in the statement.

Read more on how two Japanese banks have been growing in Amsterdam

In contrast with MUFG, other Japanese financial firms including Nomura Holdings Inc., Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. have chosen Frankfurt as their EU base after Brexit. Mizuho Financial Group Inc. also picked the German city for its securities operations even though, like MUFG, it has a commercial banking license in the Netherlands and has been building its presence there.

MUFG’s decision is a coup for Amsterdam, which is regarded as having a friendly regulator with technological expertise in areas such as high-speed trading. The city has attracted trading platforms, and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is setting up a hub there.

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