Daiwa is the latest Japanese bank to migrate trading operations to Frankfurt from London, as the nation’s financiers move ahead with their Brexit contingency plans with only six months to go and no deal with the EU in sight.
Daiwa Capital Markets Deutschland, as the new subsidiary is known, is fully functional and the bank’s primary EU hub, backed with its own specific pool of capital and complete with 25 transferred or locally hired staff. The bank still employs about 450 people in the securities business in London.
“We fully expect to be in a position to provide clients in the European Economic Area with all the products and services we currently provide out of London, whatever form Brexit takes,” said Grant Lewis, who managed the process for the bank from the UK. “In future, EEA clients’ sales coverage will come from Frankfurt and they will be able to book trades with the German entity.”
The development comes as Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has underlined that Brexit removes the UK’s role as a gateway to Europe, despite the country’s other strengths, and reflects a proactive role taken by Japanese banks to be prepared for the split.
Daiwa’s move follows that of fellow Japanese lender Nomura, which has set up a licensed trading hub in Frankfurt and is in advanced talks with French regulators about using Paris as a post-Brexit European lending entity.
Establishing a presence in Frankfurt involves going through what one banker called a “tough but fair” vetting and approval process from Germany’s banking regulator.
Hubert Väth, who runs the marketing group Frankfurt Main Finance, said Japanese banks are nonetheless drawn to the city and noted that they were “way ahead of everybody else” in seeking to get established.
Get alerts on Brexit when a new story is published