The Strategist

Lloyds to transfer its headquarters to Berlin

04/17/2017 - 14:56

According to The Daily Telegraph, the British Lloyds Banking Group intends to re-establish its European headquarters in Berlin after the UK withdraws from the EU. It is reported that Lloyds has prepared a request to the German financial regulator BaFin. The institution inquired about a possibility to change the status of its current unit in Berlin by September. According to the British media, Lloyds has considered several options for a new European headquarters, including Amsterdam and Dublin. However, eventually the choice fell on Berlin, where Lloyds already employs about 300 people, more than in any other European division.
In addition, Lloyd's of London plans to transfer part of its operations to Brussels by mid-2018. 11% of insurance premiums of the association fall on the EU countries. It is explained that Lloyd's of London’s management could not secure guarantees from the British government in preserving EU regulatory permits after Brexit.

London is considered the world center of specialized commercial insurance, including maritime and aviation. 40% of the headquarters of international companies are registered in the city.

Market analyst Ralf Witzler says: "To move an institution is a bold decision, especially for American banks, as well as for large Swiss banks that are engaged in brokerage operations. This is a very complicated process. Commercial banks are easier to move, they have more opportunities for decision-making, and you can transfer assets management operations quite quickly. The process is complicated for large investment banks".  

A possible impetus for the final decision was that the British government once again sold a small stake in Lloyds Banking Group, reducing its share in the bank to 1.97%. Currently, the state owns 1.41 billion shares of Lloyds, the bank said in a press release. Earlier, the British government’s package totaled 2.1 billion shares. Sale price of the securities is not disclosed. The government has directed all the attracted funds to reduce the country’s national debt.

The British Finance Ministry said that of the 20.3 billion pounds spent in the financial crisis to save Lloyds, the state has returned a total of more than 20 billion pounds ($ 25 billion), both through the sale of bank shares, and through dividends.

"I welcome this progress in terms of returning Lloyds to private hands," said Deputy Finance Minister Simon Kirby. "We are very close to a full refund of taxpayers' funds poured into the bank during the crisis."

Lloyds is the largest retail bank in the UK. It had received a bailout during the financial crisis, as a result of which the government took possession of a 39% stake in the institution. Since the end of 2013, the Ministry of Finance has gradually been selling off the state-owned shares of the bank.

As a result of 2016, Lloyds received a net profit of 2.51 billion pounds and revenue of 17.5 billion pounds. In February, the bank announced his intention to pay dividends of 2.55 pence per share for the past year, as well as special dividends of 0.5 pence per share.