Brexit relocations

Standard Life CEO: Luxembourg part of top destinations for asset management

Photo: Lex Kleren

The CEO of Standard Life, Keith Skeoch, told CNBC that Luxembourg and Ireland were the two top contenders for asset management companies looking to relocate some of their operations post-Brexit.

"Just for asset management, there are two clear homes, one is Luxembourg, which is the heart of the SICAV administration and I think the other strong contender has to be Ireland," Skeoch said.

Luxembourg has been attracting a number of financial companies looking to keep a European home after the UK leaves the EU. 

The Grand-Duchy has been especially popular with insurance firms in the wake of the Brexit vote with companies such as AIG, Hiscox, FM Global, RSA, and CNA Hardy announcing a move to Luxembourg. 

In total over 20 companies have announced they would move some of their operations to Luxembourg in light of Brexit. 

Some tensions rose up between Ireland and the Grand-Duchy after an Irish minister made comments about unfair competition from the continent to attract business from London post-Brexit. 

Those comments, widely interpreted as being aimed at the Grand-Duchy led Luxembourg for Finance CEO Nicolas Mackel to say that while the accusations were false, Luxembourg did not speak badly of its competitors, "unlike some of them."

"I think it's just like in politics - you resort to that sort of communication if you really don't have anything to say about yourself and your strength," Mackel said. 

'Contingency plan'

For Standard Life, at least some of its operations will likely go to Dublin. Skeoch told the American network that his company was looking to relocate its MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) company to Ireland.

Uncertainty being the worst thing for business according to the CEO, he said the most important thing for Brexit was to have a plan.

"From a business perspective, it's absolutely clear to me you've got to get your contingency plans in place. No matter what anybody is saying, plan for a hard Brexit, and that's what we are doing," Skeoch said.

(Barbara Tasch, barbara.tasch@wort.lu, +352 49 93 732) 

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