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James Cowels, Citi’s Chief Executive in Europe has thrown his support behind the United Kingdom
James Cowles, Citi’s Chief Executive in Europe has thrown his support behind the UK and London in particular as a major financial hub.
He told Financial News (FN) that London is “still going to be the financial hub that we have for EMEA, it’s still going to be the primary place of business”.
Mr Cowles, who has been in charge of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since 2013, has given his stamp of approval to London’s financial prowess.
Citigroup’s chief executive has branded London its number one city for business
But Citi has said if banks lose their access to the EU’s single market it could have to set up a new strategy.
It has not ruled out “setting up a new entity in Europe and transferring investment banking roles there”, FN reports.
However, Mr Cowles was quick to point out that any staff losses from the UK will not be significant, according to FN.
Prime Minster Theresa May got the nod of approval from MPs to push ahead with triggering Article 50
He made clear that he does not view Brexit with the trepidation that some in the financial and banking world have.
He was also quick to dismiss any impact that the new Donald Trump will have on rattling markets – taking a wait and see approach – instead.
In fact, the Citi chief described both Brexit and Trump as the least of its priorities.
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He says cybersecurity is one of its most serious problems.
Theresa May got the nod of approval from MPs to push ahead with triggering Article 50 during a decisive House of Commons vote on February 8.
MPs voted 494 to 122 in favour of approving the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which will now proceed to the House of Lords.
Ms May now looks set to be able to press ahead with plans to trigger formal Brexit talks by the end of March.
There had been fears last month that Citigroup and others were set to navigate its operations away from London after the vote.
There was much speculation that the triggering of Article 50 would lead to a mass exodus by major US, Japan and Swiss banks in the UK.
And this could lead to the EU being more than willing to embrace the banking institutions that want to lure any business lost by the City after Brexit.
But the comments by Citi’s chief executive will go some way in alleviating those worries.
Citigroup, a US bank, employs 9000 people in the UK.