US firm Raymond James 'discussed shifting London brokerage to Frankfurt'
US wealth manager and investment banking firm Raymond James is understood to have discussed a potential move of its London brokerage business to Frankfurt in response to Brexit.
Raymond James spoke with regulators and local financial industry representatives in Frankfurt about proposals to relocate at least part of the unit, though it was unclear whether any move would involve shifting staff from London or other offices, according to Press Association sources close to the discussions.
The decision would be likely to require additional staff in Frankfurt, which could be in the double digits, as the office currently only offers investment banking services and employs around 10 people.
Raymond James denied the claims, but declined to comment further.
German regulator Bafin said it was not able to comment on individual cases due to legal confidentiality requirements.
Senior Raymond James management have flagged expansion of the Frankfurt office since it first opened last summer.
Melville Mummert, head of Raymond James' European investment bank, reportedly said the company was looking at adding additional consulting services such as debt advice at the site.
However, no mention was made of a brokerage relocation.
The company also offers investment banking and equity sales in Germany through its Munich and Dusseldorf offices respectively.
London offers the widest range of services across its European operations, according to its website - providing investment banking and equity research as well as fixed income and equity sales - and is the only regional office to offer both fixed income and equity trading.
Raymond James first started serving institutional clients in Europe after opening its Paris office in 1987, which was followed by a new office in London in 1990, where it started serving private clients in 2001.
Its European operations as a whole are now staffed by around 115 employees, according to its website, with additional offices in Paris, Warsaw and Brussels, as well as Vaduz, Liechtenstein and Geneva and Lausanne in Switzerland.
If the brokerage relocation is followed through, it would make Raymond James the latest financial services firm to ramp up its German operations since the Brexit vote.
A raft of US, Asian and European banks have committed to growing their Frankfurt footprint in order to safeguard their EU business after Britain leaves the bloc.
Hubertus Vath, managing director of City lobby group Frankfurt Main Finance, said foreign interest keeps rolling in despite negotiators having struck a Brexit transition deal that is expected to extend access for financial services until December 2020.
"Frankfurt keeps building its lead as a destination of choice post-Brexit," he said.
"Even though we noted a slowdown in movements after the transition has been announced, we believe it was too little too late."
Goldman Sachs - which employs 6,500 UK staff - is set to at least double its Frankfurt workforce to 400 through a mixture of relocations and local recruitment and has also signed a lease on a yet-to-be built skyscraper that can house up to 800 employees with options to take up additional space.
JP Morgan, which has 16,000 staff in the UK, will ramp up operations at a number of its EU sites with plans to move up to 1,000 London front and back office roles across its offices.
American peer Morgan Stanley is understood to have plans to relocate 200 of its 6,000 UK staff to Frankfurt, while Citigroup notified its bankers that it may need to create 150 roles at its Frankfurt offices as well as those in Amsterdam, Dublin, Luxembourg, Madrid and Paris.
A raft of Asian banks including Nomura, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Mizuho Securities are also on track to expand their operations in the German financial hub.