DUBLIN, Ireland - U.K.-based Barclays Bank has said that it has initiated talks with Irish regulators about expanding its presence in Dublin to continue servicing customers in the European Union after Brexit.
Barclays became that latest company in the list of financial firms that have been drawing up contingency plans on how they will continue to access the European single market when the U.K. leaves the trading bloc.
If financial firms based in the U.K. lose access to the European single market, they will need a subsidiary in another country within the EU to continue offering services across Europe.
In a statement, Barclays said Ireland provided a "natural base" for the bank as it has operated there for 40 years already.
It said, “Barclays intends to utilise an existing licensed EU-based bank subsidiary to continue passported activity. Barclays Bank Ireland... provides a natural base and we are engaging with our regulators in discussions to extend its activities. In the absence of certainty around, we intend to take necessary steps to preserve ongoing market access for our customers."
Currently, Barclays employs about 100 staff in Dublin and the bank said it was talking to regulators over extending its licence there.
The bank said its CEO, Jes Staley, along with Helen Keelan, who chairs Barclays Bank Ireland, met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier this week.
Meanwhile, last month, Barclays appointed Kevin Wall, an experienced investment banker, to head the bank's operations in Ireland, in an early signal of the intention to ramp up the Irish arm.
Commenting on the statement, Ireland's Government Enterprise and Innovation Minister Frances Fitzgerald said Barclays' decision to expand its presence in Dublin was "a strong vote of confidence in Ireland's growing importance as a gateway into the single market.”
IDA chief Martin Shanahan too concurred the Barclays move "is a further endorsement of Ireland's strong offering to the International Financial Services Sector.”
Shanahan said, "Ireland's access to the EU's markets and regulatory systems has become increasingly important for Ireland post-Brexit. Companies based in the UK want to retain a foothold in the EU, and Ireland is the perfect location from which to do this."
Earlier in May, Insurer Legal & General said that it planned to relocate parts of its business to the Irish capital, while U.S. bank JP Morgan has already purchased space for 1,000 staff.
Standard Life is now believed to be likely to choose Dublin.