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Around 5,000 finance jobs to move out of Britain or created overseas by March 2019 post-Brexit: poll

[LONDON] Around 5,000 finance jobs will be moved out of Britain or created overseas by March 2019 because of Brexit, half the number forecast six months ago, according to a Reuters survey of firms employing the bulk of workers in international finance.

Reuters approached 164 banks, asset managers, private equity firms, insurers and exchanges with UK operations on their plans for moving staff as a result of Brexit and received answers from 119, against 123 in September.

The numbers are different because a handful of insurers, asset managers and exchanges - not banks - who responded in September did not do so this time, while a few new insurers and asset managers were added.

Seventy-six companies said they would have to move staff or restructure their businesses because of Brexit, which is due to take place in March 2019.

Another 29 said Brexit would have no impact, and the remainder said they are still deciding what to do, declined to comment or did not respond.

The survey was conducted by email and telephone between Feb 9 and March 22. A total of 64 banks responded, along with 37 insurers and insurance brokers and 18 asset managers and private equity firms. Three exchanges who were approached did not respond or declined to comment.

The respondents included the 20 investment banks that earned the most fees from investment banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2016, according to Thomson Reuters' data.

Some participants declined to comment on some of the questions. Some participants also asked for the information to be part of an aggregate only, which is why Reuters has not published the complete data.

The insurers who responded to the survey included the largest listed insurers in Britain, along with large European Union (EU) and non-EU insurers operating in Britain, major insurance brokers and listed and unlisted insurers with an international focus, such as those operating in the Lloyd's of London market.

The asset managers who responded included many of the global managers who use the UK as a base in Europe, as well as the leading British firms.

Survey participants were asked if Brexit would mean new jobs moved or created in the EU by March 2019 or by a later date, whether a transition deal would make a difference to their plans, whether their estimates were higher or lower than before and to describe any other steps they were taking.

They were also asked how many UK employees they have.

Sixty-five organisations provided the number of staff they employ in the UK.

The employee numbers totalled 477,010. Of those, 359,357 were employed by banks, 105,534 by insurers and 12,119 by asset managers and private equity firms.

The 48 firms which gave details on their job plans for Brexit together employ at least 375,606 people. A precise number could not be calculated because nine did not answer the question about total employees.

The 25 banks in the survey who answered the question about how many jobs would be affected by Brexit said they expected 4,798 jobs to be moved or created in the EU.

Thirteen insurers expected 173 roles to be created in the EU in total. Ten asset managers and private equity firms who gave the information saw 304 jobs in total being created. The three exchanges declined to comment or did not respond.

There are 317 banks registered in Britain, according to the Bank of England, although that includes the domestic-focused subsidiaries of many larger banks as well as many smaller lenders that earn the bulk of their revenue in Britain so won't be affected so much by Brexit.

There are 443 UK authorised insurers, according to the Bank of England, though many larger firms have more than one authorisation. Many UK insurers also have a purely domestic focus, insurance specialists say.

While the asset managers contacted account for the lion's share of the assets managed in Britain, there remains a long tail of smaller managers registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, a figure it puts at 1,840 firms.

The Bank of England said in response to a Freedom of Information request from Reuters that it had received contingency plans from 147 banks and 170 insurers regulated by its Prudential Regulation Authority arm.

It also said it had received 519 responses about contingency plans from European Economic Area insurance firms and their home state regulators.

It said it was not expecting any more responses.