1. Money matters
September 11, 2018

Which cities could be the new financial centre of Europe after Brexit?

By Ellen Daniel

With the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looming, the UK financial sector is preparing itself for a hit.

Despite the potential upheaval and extra red tape London’s banking and financial services will experience after leaving the European Union (EU), some are claiming that London will remain the financial capital of Europe after Brexit, with the city still topping the most recent Global Financial Centres Index.

However, even if they do not knock London off the top spot, other European cities may increase their international standing as financial hubs as a result of Brexit.

Here are the places that could emerge as the major financial centres of Europe following Brexit:


With the likes of Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs increasing their presence in the city, Frankfurt was the highest-scoring city in the EU in the global financial centres index (apart from London).

The fact that the European Central Bank is already headquartered in the city, combined with Germany’s strong economic presence in the EU, may mean that it is poised to benefit from organisations looking to relocate.

Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed the city’s bid to become the centre for euro clearing, the system through which euro-based financial transactions are settled.


With Chicago’s Cboe Global Markets and the London Stock Exchange Group announcing that they will be opening stock trading centres in the city, Amsterdam’s financial centre already appears to be reaping the rewards of Brexit.

The city also benefits from a long history as a financial centre of Europe, and remains competitive in the modern age through its investment in the fintech sector.

However, the Netherlands capped bankers’ bonuses at 20% of their annual salaries after the financial crisis, which may deter some businesses from setting up camp in the capital.

Holland’s relatively small economy may also count against Amsterdam as a financial centre.

Nonetheless, a number of organisations have already chosen to move to the city, with the European Health Organisation announcing plans to move earlier this year. Likewise, tech giant Panasonic has announced it is moving its European HQ from London to Amsterdam. It remains to be seen whether any major players in the finance sector will follow suit.


After beating Dublin in the bid to host the European Banking Authority, the EU’s banking regulator, in 2017, Paris emerged as an early contender to be the new financial centre of Europe.

Since the EU referendum, HSBC has also announced that it is moving 1,000 jobs from London to Paris, where it will set up its EU headquarters.

Confidence that the city’s reputation as a financial centre of Europe will benefit from Brexit remains high, and at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Reuters that he expected Paris to overtake London as a financial capital in the next five to ten years.


It may be the political capital of Europe, but Brussels has not traditionally been viewed as a financial hub. However, this may be changing as the city seeks to benefit from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

At the beginning of 2018, Lloyd’s of London announced that it would be opening a new office in Brussels in 2019. Financial services company Euroclear has also announced that it is moving its holding company from London to Belgium’s capital.

The city’s relatively low property prices may also appeal to relocating workers.


With low corporate tax rates and English as the primary language, Dublin may be another contender.

Last year, Bank of America chose the city as its EU base, with 125 staff expected to move from London. Barclays has also announced that Dublin will become its EU centre for banking operations following Brexit.

A 2017 report from EY also named the city as the number one destination for financial services wishing to move their operations out of London.

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