Morgan Stanley Poised to Clarify Brexit Plans in Near Future

"We’ll be making decisions very early this year."

After a flurry of activity last July, many lenders in the UK have now started to embark on a more formalized agenda in light of Brexit. This includes Morgan Stanley, which will be making more concrete decisions on its Brexit staff in H1 2018, per a Reuters report.

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Morgan Stanley, like many other banks operating in the UK, publicly disclosed plans to relocate a portion of its staff last year. In most instances, this saw either Frankfurt or Dublin emerge as the two most likely options for relocating personnel or the installment of new EU trading bases. The catalyst of course has been ongoing Brexit discussions, which has centered on passporting rights – a key point of emphasis for many lenders.

Last July, Morgan Stanley chose Frankfurt as its new EU headquarters ahead of the UK’s exit from the bloc. The bank had originally planned to transfer nearly 200 people to Frankfurt from the British capital after gaining regulatory approval and office space. However, since then there have been little details as to what the concrete number and scale of the move would entail.

“We’ll be making decisions very early this year. What the politicians don’t understand is these are people,” noted Colm Kelleher, President of Morgan Stanley, in a recent conference in Dublin. Indeed, many other banks are grappling with the same issues as Morgan Stanley, deciding what portion of their workforce to relocate. In many instances, there may be no need to transfer personnel as Frankfurt and Dublin each boast strong labor pools.

Of course, much of the discussion by Morgan Stanley and others is simply conjecture. Brexit talks are still ongoing, which explains the lack of clarity surrounding more substantiated moves out of lenders over the past few months. Presently, Brexit discussions remain stalemated, and have centered on the state of financial services in the UK.

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