Barclays: Dublin might become European HQ

As the bank reports that its profits almost tripled in 2016...

Barclays: Dublin might become European HQ

Picture by Kirsty Wigglesworth AP/Press Association Images

Barclays has admitted it "may add some people in Dublin" if its London base loses single market access post-Brexit.

The confirmation comes one month on from a Bloomberg report that the bank had started scouting the Irish capital for office space in early 2017 and had been in discussion with regulators regarding expanding its Dublin operations.

Chief executive Jes Staley told the BBC on Thursday that, while it remained committed to London, it was looking elsewhere for a new European headquarters.

Frankfurt and Milan were named as competition for Dublin in that regard.

Staley said:

"We are looking at contingencies right now. We have a subsidiary bank in Ireland, we have a very large operation in Germany – we are the largest credit card business in Germany – so we are looking at what our options are to operate across Europe if we lose the single market because of Brexit.

"We may add some people in Dublin we may add some people across Europe but our core operations and centre will continue to be London."

Picture by Joe Giddens PA Wire/PA Images

His comments came as the bank reported that pre-tax profits climbed to £3.2 billion in 2016.

It almost tripled the previous year's £1.1bn, though it fell below the average forecast of £3.97bn taken from analyst estimates. Investment bank revenues were up 21% year-on-year to £2.5bn, with the second half of the year turning in a particularly healthy showing.

The boost to the centuries-old financial house's coffers arrives on foot of "strong progress" in its restructuring. As part of this, Barclays has been selling off "non-core" parts of the bank. It paid 12.8 billion rand (£790m) to Barclays Africa to fund the investments needed to separate that unit from the main business. Its stake in the African business is now less than 50%. The plan is to close the unit dealing with the shedding of assets on June 30th.

"We are now just months away from completing the restructuring of Barclays," Staley said. "And I am more optimistic than ever for our prospects in 2017 and beyond."