Global investment bank JP Morgan appears to be scouting for a new post-Brexit European hub away from London, according to a media report.

On Thursday (30 March), the Wall Street Journal reported that a group of 75 senior staff members from the bank have been busy checking out as many as eight cities including Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin, for the past nine months.

Citing sources close the planners, the newspaper claims JP Morgan has already begun pulling up the paperwork to apply for licences at some of the said locations, and has gone scouting for real estate in Dublin and Frankfurt.

While the WSJ claims a final decision is due in a matter of months, a spokesperson for JP Morgan declined to comment on the story. The bank employs 16,000 people in the UK, which is its European hub, and as such the bank’s regional corporate and investment banking activities are all managed out London.

On Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50, the official mechanism for a member state to exit the EU, following a 52%:48% vote in its favour in a referendum on 23 June 2016.

If the move is confirmed, JP Morgan would by no means be alone in taking steps to mitigate the possible impact of Brexit on EU banking norms, and the UK’s possible loss of access to the continent-wide banking passport mechanism. This permits a financial institution based in any EU country to have clearing access across its 28 member states.

Last week, it emerged that Goldman Sachs will relocate hundreds of jobs away from London even before the UK and EU agree on any Brexit deal. Speaking to CNBC on 21 March, Richard Gnodde, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International, the European arm of the Wall Street bank, said the decision was part of its contingency plans to deal with the Brexit fallout.

In January, newswire Reuters said Morgan Stanley and Citigroup were also planning to move some staff from London to EU locations, and HSBC has also made similar soundings.

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