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Credit Suisse said to consider Dublin expansion as Brexit nears

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Credit Suisse Group AG is exploring options for expanding in Dublin, as the UK moves closer to exiting the European Union, according to two people familiar with the matter.

[LONDON] Credit Suisse Group AG is exploring options for expanding in Dublin, as the UK moves closer to exiting the European Union, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The Irish capital is emerging as a favored location for the bank's so-called back-office jobs, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because a final decision hasn't been made. The Zurich-based bank also is considering cities including Frankfurt as it develops plans for moving jobs to adapt to Brexit, said the person.

Credit Suisse board member Noreen Doyle said in Dublin on Tuesday that the bank is in the "early stages" of examining alternatives to the UK as it plans for Brexit's implications. Doyle said the lender is "very pleased" with its existing Dublin operation, as it made the city its primary hub for servicing hedge funds in Europe. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny opened the firm's trading floor in the city last year.

The company's executives are "exploring solutions to various outcomes including a hard Brexit and are refining our in-depth analysis," a Credit Suisse spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to questions. "We are exploring all options and do not have a preferred location at this point in time."

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Ireland is seeking to present itself as a favored destination for financial firms based in Britain that want to retain "passporting" rights, which allow them to do business within the EU. Standard Chartered Plc has approached Irish officials about making Dublin its legal base inside the EU, people familiar with discussions said in December. Citigroup Inc is evaluating the Irish capital along with other cities, European regional chief Jim Cowles said Jan 24.

Credit Suisse has banking operations in Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Milan, as well as branches in Lisbon, Paris and Dublin.

Credit Suisse's Dublin operation is classified as a third-country branch rather than a full subsidiary, so it may need additional regulatory clearance to become a base for passporting into the rest of the EU. Still, Credit Suisse is leaning away from Frankfurt because of the cost of living and the difficulty of luring employees to the city, the person said.

"We already provide a comprehensive range of services to our clients through both our London operations and a number of different subsidiaries and branches across the Continent," the bank spokeswoman said. "This provides us with the flexibility to respond to potential changes in the UK and EU financial services industry in the future."