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JPMorgan London bankers balk at relocation to Parisian suburbs

If there's a no-deal Brexit, Bloomberg reports that JPMorgan will be relocating 300 of its London staff to Europe on April 13th. 

Contracts making London bankers' fates contingent on the outcome of Brexit negotiations were issued to some staff today. Some insiders still complain of being left in the dark after the cancellation of meetings that were supposed to clarify the process last Friday, however. "It's clear that I will be going but I don't even have a contract yet," said one. "It's very frustrating. We've known we will probably have to move for a long time, but the bank is not giving us any certainty."

The confusion is made all the worse by the prospect of working at JPMorgan's back-up Parisian office at Levallois in the north western suburbs. Insiders said the office was traditionally used as JPMorgan's recovery site in France, and is being brought into full time service while the bank looks around for a more prestigious and central Paris office to use in the long term. The bank's number one choice - Hotel De La Marine on Place de la Concorde - is being refurbished and won't be ready until 2020. JPMorgan already has prestigious office space at Place Vendome, but not enough of it.

Levallois is an hour away from Place Vendome on foot, or nearly half an hour by train. "We call it the bunker," says one trader in London. Google Streetview reveals a leafy suburban street. It's perfectly pleasant, but very different to Canary Wharf. 

JPMorgan declined to comment on its plans. Last week the Guardian reported that up to 400 JPMorgan bankers are on standby for moving to Europe under the bank's strategy of shifting staff out of London "as late as possible." In February, Reuters reported that JPMorgan had secured new office space on the "outskirts" of Paris. 

While JPMorgan sits on the fence, some banks are moving staff regardless of the uncertainty. Citi's Frankfurt trading floor became fully operational last week. Natwest Markets, which had also been trying to delay staff moves until the last possible moment, is understood to have asked relevant employees to shift to Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam last week. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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