Merkel misery: Frankfurt banker headcount to drop despite Brexit boost – study

EU banking system 'on edge of collapse' says Longworth

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Headcount at the city’s financial institutions will drop five percent by the end of 2023 to around 62,200 people, a result of cost-cutting measures, Helaba predicts. That is 3,300 people fewer than last autumn.

Financial jobs in the city have generally been on the rise since 2014 amid greater demand for staff overseeing compliance and regulation at banks, and as Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union lured jobs from London.

Helaba expects 1,500 new Brexit-related jobs for Frankfurt this year and next, on top of 2,000 such jobs already created in 2020 and earlier.

In her report, Ulrike Bischoff, Helaba’s financial centres expert said: “The regulation of financial services between the EU and the UK is a tough process as is Brexit itself.

“Comprehensive equivalence regulation by the EU for Great Britain is unlikely in the near future, and individual equivalence decisions are also uncertain.

“This would mean British Directives with which the EU would be recognised as equivalent.

“Looking ahead, there is a risk of regulatory arbitrage.

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“After all, Brexit offers the opportunity to regulate regulations that have long been considered inappropriate now to change for their own market.”

She added: “Depending on regulatory modifications on both sides leading to avoidance of a harmful competition for all involved should be done with a sense of proportion, the European financial centre architecture will change in the medium to long term.”

Ms Bischoff admitted: “Despite the positive effect of Brexit, employment in the German banking centre will decline over the next few years.

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“This is ensured by the ongoing consolidation, which has been intensified by the Corona crisis.

“The still challenging framework conditions speak for a significant reduction in bank employment in the coming years.”

During 2020, despite the austerity programs announced by several institutes, there had been a “surprising increase in Frankfurt bank employment”, she explained.

She added: “The German financial centre should now resolutely meet its challenges and opportunities.

“Confident, concerted marketing is essential for successful further development in international competition and driving key trends in the financial sector – above all ‘Sustainable Finance’.”

Frankfurt is home to Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and the European Central Bank as well as the European headquarters for scores of non-German banks.

Frankfurt has been dubbed Bankfurt or Mainhattan, after the river Main that the city straddles.

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