Brexit bankers left in painful limbo

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The UK's six month Brexit delay to October 31st 2019 may be good news for anyone fearing the chaos of no deal, but it's prolonging the pain of London bankers who've been put at notice of an immediate move and now face another six months of uncertainty.

"We've had no news about anything that's going on," complains an insider at one U.S. bank in Canary Wharf, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We're all very frustrated by this. I've spent the last six months preparing to move to Paris and now I don't know if I'll be staying in London or not."

JPMorgan has reportedly spent $100m on its preparations for Brexit and has asked 300 staff to sign contracts putting them on stand-by to move to France or Germany. Banks like Credit Agricole have asked London employees to sign six month secondment contracts asking them to move to Paris at short notice if necessary, while others like Morgan Stanley are offering to pay transport costs for staff who move to Europe to visit families left in London at weekends. 

Bankers who had braced themselves for these arrangements coming into force last week, or in June, are now adjusting to a reality in which they may either go in October, or not at all.

While some would like to stay in London anyway, others are complaining of disrupted plans.

"I was planning to buy in Paris because I don't trust the post-Brexit UK housing market," says one JPMorgan banker. "- But my personal bank in France has asked me to put down a 40% deposit because I have a UK employment contract, which makes it impossible to buy anything decent."

He says he spent the past six months in Paris trying to find somewhere to rent instead, and that his partner had been preparing to find a new job in the French capital. "- I'm starting to think about simply working for a French bank instead."

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