Deutsche Bank Needs Brexit Clarity by Early 2018: Matherat

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Deutsche Bank AG only has another month and a half before it needs to push ahead and make decisions on Brexit.

“It’s the very beginning of next year when we need to have a clear view on what’s going to happen” when the U.K. leaves the European Union, Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat said at a conference in Frankfurt. The political uncertainty “will reach a point where it will be completely irrelevant.”

While Deutsche Bank has said it plans to move some U.K. operations to Frankfurt and other EU cities, Chief Executive Officer John Cryan has stressed that the final decision on numbers has yet to be made and will depend on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. The bank envisions shifting almost half its U.K. positions to the European continent over coming years, people briefed on the matter said in August.

Matherat has now made it clear that the bank can wait only so long for regulatory clarity. While she didn’t say at the conference how Deutsche Bank will decide in the absence of Brexit clarity, she has previously said that the bank is “hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

The worst outcome is generally understood to be an end to Britain’s EU membership at the end of March 2019 without any transitional arrangements or any other form of trade agreement. U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis reckons it’s as close as 50-50 whether he gets a breakthrough in divorce talks by December, according to European business leaders he briefed at a meeting Monday.

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