US bank Citi says contingency plans will not be swayed by Brexit talks outcome


US banking giant Citi plans to keep the vast majority of its 9,000 strong workforce in the UK, regardless of how Brexit talks pan out.

The group will pepper its EU operations with an extra 150 staff, but is set to bolster offices through a hiring spree rather than a shift of British employees, its local government liaison has assured.

It is understood that job moves will stay in the single digits.

"We're moving some roles and will create several," Alan Houmann, head of government affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), told the Press Association.

When asked whether the outcome of Brexit negotiations could spark a larger raft of relocations, he suggested larger trends were at play and that the central causes of any further moves were "not directly on Brexit".

"Our goal is to be ready to serve our European clients and our plans are very much under way to do that," Mr Houmann said.

Germany - Frankfurt - City Views
Citi is converting its German office into a broker-dealer entity (PA)

The broader banking sector has been looking at moving staff closer to clients, with some taking advantage of outsourcing opportunities for back office operations.

An internal memo sent to staff last year explained that Citi was planning to convert its Frankfurt office, which currently houses 350 staff to a broker-dealer entity, adding to its currently broker dealer operations in Dublin.

"Frankfurt makes a lot of sense for us. We know Germany well, we've been there for decades, know and have experience dealing with the regulator."

Citi, which has already submitted its licence application to the German regulator, is expecting to see the new broker dealer up and running by the end of the year.

While the bulk of new roles will be allocated to the converted German office, staff also be hired to work in cities including Paris, Madrid, Milan, Amsterdam and, Dublin.

"We will also increase our presence in Luxembourg. We're adding roles in countries where we believe it will benefit our clients," Mr Houmann said.

It is understood Citi's hiring plans include adding private banking staff to its Luxembourg operations.

The Wall Street giant's liaison was happy with the way the UK Government has been engaging with the financial services sector to date, adding that "there's no lack of conversations, whatsoever".

"We feel like we're being heard. As an industry, and the committees I chair...we've done a ton of work, we've been producing reports, so we're just churning out evidence in the hope that there's such a thing as evidence-based policy making, and it's all going to the appropriate people"

Talks with EU government representatives have also been "productive", Mr Houmann assured, adding that the bank was more engaged in some countries based on the size of its operations or regional plans.

"We're relatively well placed when it comes to Brexit. We have almost 60% of our EU employees already outside of the UK, our Bank headquartered in Dublin and we're already on the ground in 21 of the 27 EU countries."

Citi currently employs around 9,000 staff in the UK, 6,000 of whom are based in the City of London.