Aviva shifts £8.8bn to Dublin as Brexit looms

Aviva has been given the green light to transfer £8.8 billion worth of assets to Ireland as the insurance giant ramps up its Brexit contingency planning.

The group, one of Britain’s biggest life insurance and pensions companies with 14.5 million policyholders, received approval from the High Court on Tuesday to transfer 9 billion euros (£7.8 billion).

It follows approval earlier this month to transfer £1 billion to Dublin.

The relocation is designed to deal with the consequences of a no-deal hard Brexit, in which UK based financial services firms will lose passporting rights that allow them to function in the EU’s single market, the world’s richest trading bloc.

In approving the switch to Dublin, Mr Justice Snowden said in his judgement: “The evidence of [the transferor] is that the uncertainty over the Brexit negotiations means that if it delayed further and did nothing, there is a real risk that substantial numbers of policyholders would be materially prejudiced in event of a “hard” [“no-deal”] Brexit by the loss of [the transferor’s] EU passporting rights.”

He added that a hard Brexit would mean Aviva could not service policies through its overseas branches or pay policyholders’ claims in the EU.

Several banks – including the Baclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and a host of others – have set up continental hubs in preparation for Britain’s exit from the EU.

This involves hundreds of jobs and hundreds of billions in assets being shifted out of London, hitting the Treasury’s tax revenue and denting the capital’s reputation as a financial centre.

Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital, is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Brexit.

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