Morgan Stanley Contemplating Move of 30% of UK Staff to Dublin, Frankfurt

Morgan Stanley is the latest lender to scout out relocation options in the EU post-Brexit.

Morgan Stanley joins the growing ranks of US and European lenders looking to lessen the scope of their operations in London and pursuing alternative jurisdictions within the European Union.

With Barclays and Standard Chartered, among other UK–headquartered lenders, all contemplating a move in the aftermath of the Brexit, Dublin and Frankfurt have emerged as the two frontrunners for attracting banking talent. Morgan Stanley is the latest addition to this list – it has begun to weigh its options with the writing on the wall regarding the UK’s exit, per a Reuters report.

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Two-Horse Race

While both Dublin and Frankfurt have their advantages, Dublin had been emerging as a potential frontrunner though a number of challenges have already started cropping up. This includes a dearth of actual on-the-ground talent in the city, which is not prepared to fill the personnel ranks of all incoming banks.

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To date, 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.

Morgan Stanley is eyeing a more modest move, with initially only 300 staff from the UK slated for relocation. The US lender will eventually choose between either Frankfurt or Dublin to base an enlarged EU hub for its operations, a familiar set of options for most banks.

May’s Rhetoric Crushes Passporting Hopes

Morgan Stanley presently utilizes the UK as the main nexus of its operations on the continent, with over 1,000 jobs in sales, trading, risk management, legal, and compliance. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May is also helping facilitate a need for relocation, as her recent comments have also helped solidify the country’s stance on passporting rights post Brexit.

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