HSBC shifts European branches to French unit control ahead of Brexit
09 Aug 2018

HSBC (HSBA.L) has shifted ownership of its Polish and Irish subsidiaries from its London-based entity to its French unit, and will do so for seven more European branches, as it prepares for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

HSBC France will also acquire the activities of seven European branches in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain, Europe’s biggest bank said on Wednesday.

The move is aimed at ensuring HSBC can continue to serve its European customers ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019, after which British-based firms are expected to lose so-called passporting rights that allow them to sell financial services in the bloc.

HSBC has not yet begun transferring any of the up to 1,000 staff it has said could ultimately move to its French unit from Britain, Chief Executive John Flint told Reuters on Monday.

The change in its organisational structure in Europe shows HSBC putting its Brexit contingency plans into action, in a sign of how banks are increasingly not waiting for the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU as to how financial services will operate between the two parties.

– By Lawrence White, Reuters, 8 August 2018.

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