HSBC has decided to move seven offices from London as it prepares for Brexit. The Europe-focused offices, which are responsible for the bank’s activities in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland, will be moved to Paris. Reports suggest that up to 1,000 staff will be affected. HSBC joins an outflow of banks shifting their hubs to the EU to avoid disruption to business in the event of a no-deal Brexit

HSBC France will acquire the activities of seven European branches in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain.

Reuters said that 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.

However HSBC has not yet started to move any of the 1,000 staff it has said could 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 early rather than waiting for the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU about exactly how financial services will operate. These moves are significant in demonstrating that the bank is operating its Brexit contingency plans.

by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor