Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JP Morgan, says the scale of the bank’s operations in London can effectively be decided by the EU after Brexit.
He was speaking at an event in Paris as a growing number of institutions in the financial services industry confirm early plans to shift some work to other EU cities, such as Paris and Frankfurt, to maintain necessary links.
A ‘Brexit Tracker’ by business services firm EY earlier this week found there were currently 23 major firms with contingency plans in place.
Mr Dimon told the Paris Europlace International Financial Forum the US bank was currently proposing to move “several hundred” staff to the continent as the UK’s divorce talks get into gear.
Video: City urges EU against risk of self-harm
It had initially warned that a quarter of its London employees may have to up sticks but Mr Dimon indicated the final figure was in Brussels’ hands, as its business was largely concentrated on the rest of the bloc.
He said: “If the EU determines over time that they want to start to move a lot more jobs out of London and into the EU, they can simply dictate that.
“We have 16,000 people in the UK but … 75% of that is servicing EU companies, and if regulators say one day, you know, ‘we’re not comfortable with your risk people, your lawyers, your compliance being in the UK’ they can makeus move it.
“So we will simply be subject to what they do down the road.”
He added: “What happens next is totally up to the EU, it’s not up to Britain.”
His comments follow moves by the European Commission last month to maintain a regulatory grip on some euro clearing operations after Brexit.
They reflected fears among some in the City that the EU was planning to flex its muscles in other areas of financial services given the UK plans to leave the single market.
JP Morgan has offices across the EU already – with the staff due to be moved from London being redirected to Dublin, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.
Commenting on Mr Dimon’s remarks, the City of London’s special representative to the EU, Jeremy Browne, told Sky’s Ian King Live that the EU risked damaging itself if it sought to punish the Square Mile through any business grab.
He said: “London is a European asset it is not just a British asset. It’s a mistake for the EU to measure their success by the degree to which they manage to diminish London.
“They should see London as part of their success story.
“Of course there will be some adjustment as a result of Brexit. I don’t think anyone pretends that things will be exactly the same… but London is the only global-scale European centre and the alternative to London being Europe’s centre is Europe not having a global centre at all.”