While the pandemic and black lives matter protests are dominating headlines, Brexit preparations continue quietly in the shadows. The U.K. has until July 1 to extend the Brexit transition period and seemingly has no intention of doing so. If it doesn't, the country will leave Europe on December 31 2020.
JPMorgan is making preparations for this eventuality. The U.S. bank has long had London staff on standby to move to Paris. In March 2019, it primed 400 London bankers for a move to the French capital ahead of the original deadline for leaving the European Union on March 29th. When that deadline was delayed, JPM staff - who then faced temporary accommodation and relocation to an unsalubrious office in a Paris suburb - were 'stood down,' and most remained in London instead. Now, some are being asked to move again.
JPMorgan declined to comment on the transfers, but it's understood that a 'handful' of salespeople have been asked to move to Paris in July. Hundreds of others, however, are still on standby. "I didn't make it to the July list," says one JPM insider. "You needed to be lucky to get onto it."
Unless the transition period is extended, the bulk of the remaining moves are likely to happen towards the end of this year. In January 2020, JPMorgan announced that it had purchased a 6,600 square-metre property near Place Vendôme which will ultimately house nearly 450 employees. However, the new office won't be ready until the fourth quarter.
In the meantime, London employees say they're still at the mercy of the U.K. government, banking regulators, and the pandemic. "We don't want to move to Paris only to be asked to work from home," says one. "We're waiting to see if there's a request to the regulator for us to stay here until the virus is over."
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