Swiss Banks Must Prepare for ‘Worst Case’ Brexit, Watchdog Says

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(Bloomberg) -- Switzerland’s banks must prepare for a no-deal Brexit, the head of the Swiss financial regulator warned, with just weeks to go before the U.K. is set to crash out of the European Union unless it secures an agreement with the bloc.

“We are there to make sure our financial institutions are prepared for a plausible worst case,” Finma Chief Executive Officer Mark Branson said in an interview at a Bloomberg conference in Zurich on Tuesday. “Which is why already last year we were asking our financial institutions to be prepared for a hard/no deal Brexit at the first of the possible deadlines to have taken place.”

Even if fears of U.K. finance job losses reaching into the tens of thousands have proved unfounded so far, global investment banks have already moved about 1,000 jobs to the continent, and a total of 7,000 could follow soon after Brexit, according to a report by consulting firm EY. Banks have readied a move of up to 1 trillion pounds ($1.23 trillion) into the EU after Brexit, the same study concludes.

Branson declined to be drawn on the probability of a no-deal Brexit. “As long as there’s a plausible chance for a disruptive scenario it’s our to make they’re tolerably well-prepared for that.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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