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Bank of England says not seen any major ECB grab for UK bankers so far

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man stands outside the Bank of England in the City of London, Britain April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) -The European Central Bank has so far made no attempt to move a large number of bankers from London to new post-Brexit hubs in the European Union, but the “jury is still out”, Bank of England officials said on Tuesday.

Banks which had used London as their European base had to open or expand existing operations inside the EU ahead of Britain’s departure from the bloc to avoid disruptions for clients.

The ECB is in the middle of a “desk mapping” review to check on whether the new hubs regulated by the Frankfurt-based central bank have sufficient senior staff and volume of activity to justify their new EU licences.

Some staff moves had been delayed by COVID-19 curbs on travel.

“We have not seen any attempt to move large numbers of staff across to the continent, however the review is ongoing so it would be premature to draw any conclusion as this stage,” Nathanael Benjamin, the Bank of England’s executive director for authorisations, told a House of Lords committee.

“The jury is still out a bit,” added BoE Deputy Govenor Sam Woods.

Britain’s regulators have signalled concern that the review must not end up draining senior bankers from London and leave UK operations insufficiently staffed.

Benjamin told the upper chamber’s European Affairs Committee that the ECB has “engaged well” with the BoE on the review and the ECB has indicated it won’t want to do anything that hinders “sound prudential outcomes”.

“The other welcome thing from a process perspective is they have said they would want both of us, the ECB and us, to consider proposals together before any decisions,” Benjamin said.

“They have expressed optimism that we could find a solution that works for everyone as a result of this particular review,” Benjamin said, adding that anything not grounded in prudential standards would be problematic for the BoE.

The BoE will be looking carefully at the short term outcome of the review and what it means for the long term, Benjamin said.

Woods said that Brexit has not been a “non event” for Britain’s financial sector and while this was not the end of it, so far it has been manageable.

Bank of England says not seen any major ECB grab for UK bankers so far

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