London finance firms fearing Brexit begin Amsterdam relocation plans

Amsterdam from the air

Amsterdam is in talks with numerous financial firms currently based in London about relocating to the Netherlands due to Britain's decision to leave the European Union, deputy mayor Kasja Ollongren confirmed, according to The Guardian. "They [financial institutions] are all preparing themselves. They don't know exactly what they have to prepare for because the situation is unclear and it will take some time until it is more clear. Financials and others are looking at possibilities and very often Amsterdam is on the shortlist", Ollongren said, according to the newspaper.

Clarity on where businesses in London stand as regards to the Brexit will be slow in coming. Today the United Kingdom Supreme Court slowed the process of a Brexit even further by ruling that British parliamentarians have to approve the implementation of Article 50 and the start of the negotiations to leave the EU.

According to Ollongren, Amsterdam mayor's office is negotiating with financial institutions from the United States and Japan, as well as fintech firms and other specialist financial services about moving their staff and offices from London to the Dutch capital. Ollongren, who is also Finance alderman in the city, expects that the first decisions on relocation will be made within the first two quarters of this year.

A complicating factor for convincing the foreign financial institutions to settle in Amsterdam, is the Netherlands cap on bankers' bonuses. The EU capped bankers' bonuses at 100 percent of their annual salary. The Netherlands imposed its own much lower cap of 20 percent of the annual salary. "I am now responsible for acquisitions and for getting companies to come to Amsterdam, and that is in a away - and I can understand it - a difficulty", she said about the differences in bonus caps.

Ollongren added that the Dutch cap is primarily intended for Dutch banks and that she is cooperating with Dutch Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance on assisting individual companies who want to relocate. "The finance minister has himself expressed that the bonus cap we have is meant for the Dutch banks. nd we are cooperating in attracting new businesses to Amsterdam. You have to look at every bank and financial institution and their specific situation and how the law applied to them."