Brexit - The view from Germany

04 Jul 2018

Brexit - The view from Germany

As part of the Odgers Berndtson Report on ‘Brexit, Business Leaders and Investment’, Christine Kuhl, Partner in Frankfurt and Global Financial Services specialist, provides the perspective from Germany. Is Frankfurt really seeing an influx of bankers, and what do German industrialists fear most from Brexit?

I have a lot of contact with Germans working in Financial Services in London. Many say the atmosphere has changed. It feels like a new form of nationalism. Many senior managers tell me they’d like to move back home and to call if anything interesting comes up. I’m talking about the general atmosphere, not in the banks themselves, but more amongst the UK public.

German banks cutting back

Nearly every bank in Germany is reducing personnel, so there aren’t many positions to discuss. Whilst the European economy is quite good, we still have a financial crisis or at least a banking crisis. The UK and the US banks recovered much faster than the German banks, which are still in a restructuring phase.

So although Frankfurt has been seen as a likely winner from Brexit, with thousands of bankers coming here and lots of new positions, as yet we’re not seeing that.

Instead, a handful of executives from London have come. On our side, banks are mainly looking for German CFOs and COOs, with good contacts to the regulators. We really haven’t seen any very large movement of bankers from London to Frankfurt yet.

Trade worries preoccupy industrialists

I’m convinced the impact of Brexit on Financial Services could be much less than in the manufacturing industry. The automotive sector, for example.

Senior executives I talk to are worried about rising import and export taxes, plus Germany having to pay more into the European Union. Many German companies have subsidiaries and production units in the UK and have a lot of concerns about how things are progressing.

To discuss any of these issues further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

These insights by Christine Kuhl, Partner at Odgers Berndtson in Frankfurt and member of the Global Financial Services Practice, are part of ‘Brexit, Business Leaders and Investment’, a major report from Odgers Berndtson. As leaders in global executive search, across multiple functions and sectors, we have a unique perspective that comes from being close to top executives in almost 30 countries.

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