Deutsche Bank signs 25-year lease for City headquarters despite Brexit warning

Deutsche Bank has signed a 25-year lease for its new City headquarters despite warning that it may move staff and the "vast majority" of its assets to Frankfurt in light of Brexit.

The announcement ends months of negotiations with Landsec - formerly Land Securities - which has been working closely with the German lender on the design of the 14-storey building set to take shape at 21 Moorfields in London.

Under the terms of the pre-let agreement, Deutsche has committed to taking up a minimum of 469,000 of the 564,000 square foot building, with an option to take more space if needed. 

The agreement will be seen as a vote of confidence for London as a growing number of financial services firms outline Brexit contingency plans that will see select operations and UK staff shifted to the EU.

Deutsche Bank's chief executive John Cryan earlier this month warned UK staff that roles may be shifted to Frankfurt as it prepares for a Brexit outcome that is "worse than people can imagine".

Mr Cryan delivered the message in a video posted on the company's intranet on July 11, adding that the German bank was likely to book the "vast majority" of its assets out of Frankfurt - where its headquarters are based - after the UK leaves the EU. 

It made Deutsche Bank one of the first European financial services firms to signal a shift of jobs back to the continent as a result of Brexit, as most relocation announcements have come from non-EU banks and insurers looking to gain access to the single market for financial services once the UK scraps its own membership.

However, the pre-let agreement for Deutsche Bank's new London headquarters cements its footprint in the City beyond the UK's Brexit negotiation deadline in 2019. 

Planning applications for the bank's new headquarters - above Moorgate underground station - will be submitted later this year, in hopes of completing construction by November 2021.

Staff are expected to be transferred to the new site during the second half of 2023.

Landsec managing director Colette O'Shea said: "We are delighted that Deutsche Bank chose to build on its existing relationship with us when it was selecting the site for its new London headquarters.

"We are looking forward to continuing our partnership approach and working with Deutsche Bank to meet its design requirements and business needs as we deliver its London headquarters."

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