MUFG eyes Amsterdam, Paris for post-Brexit business

Japanese megabank MUFG says Amsterdam and Paris are favourites to be the new European base for its securities operations, officials said Monday, as the firm prepares for Brexit.

A man walks past a board of the Japanese mega bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) in Tokyo on July 31, 2017
A man walks past a board of the Japanese mega bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) in Tokyo on July 31, 2017 (AFP)

Japanese megabank MUFG says Amsterdam and Paris are favourites to be the new European base for its securities operations, officials said Monday, as the firm prepares for Brexit.

Britain is at risk of losing the "passporting rights" financial firms use to deal with clients in the rest of the European bloc.

That, along with political uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations, has spurred foreign companies that have set up shop in Britain, or established European headquarters there, to begin looking for alternative locations.

"Amsterdam and Paris are two of the top candidates" for its securities operations, a spokesman for Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, told AFP.

"We have to make decisions soon," he said, adding that the timing of the transfer and the number of jobs that will move to the new city have not been confirmed.

Kana Nagamitsu, MUFG spokeswoman, said Amsterdam is "one of the top candidates".

"As we have a local office there, we're expecting synergy," she said.

The Financial Times reported that MUFG has chosen Amsterdam, to where "hundreds of jobs" could be moved from among the 2,100 people the firm employs in London.

Nomura Holdings, Daiwa Securities and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have said they are planning to move their main EU bases from London to Frankfurt.

Britain formally told the European Union (EU) in late March it will withdraw from the bloc.

The European Commission wants to resolve crucial issues, including citizens' rights and Britain's exit bill, so that a future trade deal can be hammered out starting in October with the bloc's remaining 27 nations.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has indicated that a final deal on separation should be in place by October 2018 to allow time for ratification before the scheduled departure date of March 2019.

According to a survey conducted by Teikoku Databank in 2016, nearly 1,400 Japanese companies do business in Britain.

Of the total, 159 firms are in the finance and insurance sectors, it said.