Banks warned over failure to move employees in time for Brexit

'The infrastucture is there but it hasn't been tested fully': executive
By Silla Brush and Alexander Weber
||Last Updated: 10/11/2019
Société Générale SA chairman Lorenzo Bini Smaghi called Brexit a “systemic event” that could lead to a global recession. Shutterstock

(Bloomberg) -- Banks are waiting until the last minute to move staff and resources to their new European Union (EU) divisions, risking disarray during a no-deal Brexit, according to Europe’s top banking regulator.

With three weeks to go before Britain is due to leave the EU, banks have built the necessary infrastructure to handle the fallout but need to move employees more quickly, Jose Manuel Campa, chairman of the European Banking Authority, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“It’s understandable on a human basis, but if you’re concerned about financial instability, it’s not the best thing you want to hear."

The warning comes as senior financial executives sound alarms about the potential ramifications of a no-deal Brexit. Société Générale SA chairman Lorenzo Bini Smaghi called it a “systemic event” that could lead to a global recession.

The pound dropped on Tuesday after a British official said a no-deal Brexit was likely because of an impasse in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Financial regulators have spent months trying to ensure key parts of the financial industry can continue in a hard Brexit, and Campa said that work has helped to prepare the market. Still, one of the EBA’s biggest concerns is “that there is operational continuity,” he said. “The infrastructure is there, but it hasn’t been tested fully. It’s not been fully operational.”

Problems could arise from simple logistical issues if staff moves are rushed, such as missing “authorizations to get into the building,” according to Campa.

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