Posted on Thursday 9 June 2016 by Ulster Business

Citi belfast operations could be hit under brexit

Citi boss James Bardrick, centre, pictured at the bank’s Belfast base in 2014 along with former First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. At the time the bank was announcing 600 new jobs.

One of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers has warned that a vote to leave the European Union will impact its Belfast operations.

In an email to staff seen by Ulster Business, Citi Country Officer James Bardrick said the US bank had been forming contingency plans in the event of a Brexit vote and concluded that it would be forced to make changes to its UK offices.

“A vote to leave the EU is likely to have implications for our UK operations,” he said. “To continue to serve our clients and maintain efficient access to those markets currently enabled through the EU passporting regime, we would likely need to rebalance our operations across the EU.”

Citi employs 9,000 people in the UK and, while most are based at the London headquarters, the second biggest base is in Belfast where around 2,000 people work for the bank carrying out support functions such as IT, legal and so-called middle office tasks which back up trading operations taking place in London.

It has grown substantially since setting up base in 2005 and Mr Bardrick has been a strong advocate of Belfast’s central role in the bank’s performance as a result of the easy access to talent.

But the email said that would be greatly diminished if the UK was not in the European Union.

“We believe the UK's position as a global leader in many areas of financial services is in no small part aided by efficient and effective access to the EU’s single market, the largest single market in the world, with 500 million citizens as potential customers and employees,” he said, adding that others set up base in the UK for the same reason.

“We believe access to the single market leads many other international companies, including many of Citi’s major clients, to invest in the UK and base their regional or global headquarters here.”

 

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