Banks' Brexit relocation packages leave something to be desired

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If you're moving to Europe because of Brexit, don't expect to feel rich. The more that new Brexit-inspired employment contracts are signed, the more their recipients are feeling the pinch. No bank has been especially generous. But some have been more so than others.

Dan Begbie Clench, an employment partner at London law firm Doyle Clayton, says salaries are the issue. "Bankers who are moving are being offered salaries that are reflective of rates in the local markets in Paris and Frankfurt rather having their London terms maintained. They're being given parity with local staff, but not with what they were used to."

Banks are unwilling to discuss their relocation packages, and often these packages differ from person to person. Morgan Stanley, for example, is said to have offered some of its fixed income salespeople a 5% salary rise to move to Frankfurt, plus £5k to cover relocation expenses, but nothing more. BNP Paribas is said to have upset some London staff by asking them to move to Paris on euro-denominated salaries that were considerably lower than their London earnings. 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which began moving London staff to Paris last week, has one of the more consistent and generous relocation packages. BAML people who move to Paris are being offered 30 days' temporary Parisian accommodation, which can be expanded to 60 if required. If they don't move their families until the end of the school year, the bank's salespeople and traders are also being offered $25k to cover commuting costs. However, similar to other banks, BAML is setting its Paris salaries to market rate, rather than simply converting its London salaries into euros.

Staff who are transferred on the new contracts could find themselves temporarily stuck. As is typically the case with expat allowances, most banks have made a prevision to clawback all the relocation extras they're offering staff if they leave voluntarily within a year. These will be one more thing to have bought out if bankers moving to Paris or Frankfurt decide they'd be better off at rival firms.

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