US Banks make plans to move to Ireland as fears grow over UK EU exit

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  By Martin Kelly
 
Plans are being drawn up by major US banks to move their operations to Ireland over fears that the UK may leave the European Union, according to the Financial Times.
 
According to the newspaper, sources have told it that the Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are drawing up preliminary plans to move some of their London based services to Dublin.

The moves are believed to be caused by fears that the UK will find itself isolated when the EC introduces new banking regulations – a so called banking union – resulting in an EU exit.

Prime Minister David Cameron has fought rules which will limit banker bonuses arguing that they would damage the city of London.

Foreign banks based in London are allowed to carry out business across the Eurozone because the UK is a member state.  If however the UK was to withdraw, some have expressed concerns that these ‘passporting’ rights may be curtailed.

David Cameron has pledged to hold an In/Out referendum on the EU if the Conservatives win the next general election.  The Labour party has also pledged to hold a similar referendum if further powers are transferred to Brussels.

In a statement to the Financial Times, Barney Reynolds, a partner at the law firm Shearman & Sterling, said: “The noises you hear from the American banks regarding Brexit [British EU Exit] are concerned ones.  It is very complicated and expensive to move infrastructure like trading floors, but it is not impossible.  If you are looking for one event that might trigger it, it is Brexit.

“London could essentially end up as an offshore financial centre. That would mean there was a need for a big onshore financial centre in Europe and the obvious candidates would be Frankfurt or Dublin.”

The issue of membership of the European Union was, until recently, one of the key areas the No campaign used in order to attack Scottish independence.  However comments from new EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in which he expressed sympathy for Scotland remaining inside the EU after independence have undermined the Better Together line of attack.

A new poll by ICM has revealed that almost two thirds of Scots do not believe claims from the No campaign that an independent Scotland could be blocked from obtaining its own EU membership.

The poll found 64 per cent of voters said they believed an independent Scotland would retain its own EU membership – up just over 6 per cent from six months ago.  According to the survey, just 15 per cent of people thought Scotland would be barred.