The growing talk of a banking exodus from the UK to Dublin is far from a foregone conclusion, as lenders face a very real likelihood of trader shortages in the Irish capital.
The past two years have been marked by troubling times for European lenders. A combination of factors ranging from spikes in labor costs, particularly in the UK, a dearth of profitability, and a general transition away from traditional banking channels have handicapped banks.
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With many lenders opting to scale back their operations, the impending Brexit has also added another factor to an equation already wrought with unforeseen variables. To date, Dublin and Frankfurt have emerged as the two most likely prospective banking capitals in Europe, while other banks have instead chosen to just offshore operations to Asia entirely.
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Dublin has slowly been emerging as a frontrunner in this race though there are a number of challenges to overcome before the city sees a full-fledged banking spark, such as an acute shortage of qualified trading personnel, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
Barclays and Standard Chartered are the two biggest names currently contemplating a move to Dublin, each of which having cut thousands of jobs in the UK over the past few years. The majority of these jobs have been back-office and IT roles, though trading desks in the fixed income and foreign exchange (FX) space have also been hit.
Dublin ranks with the best in terms of qualified individuals who can staff trading desks – unfortunately, as one of Europe’s smaller capitals, in tandem with Ireland’s small population, the issue is not the quality of traders but rather the quantity.
The banks with the largest staff poised for relocation, to no predetermined destination, include JPMorgan, UBS, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays. Even a modest move of this proportion of the workforce would quickly sap Dublin of any available traders.
In the whole of Ireland, approximately only 35,000 people work in the financial space – this compares to 60,000 in Frankfurt alone, 180,000 in Paris, and 360,000 in London. It is unclear in this respect if Dublin is even capable of supporting such a large move in operations, though banks are also available for these demographics, which may make any moves feasible based on a first-come-first serve basis.