Several major US banks are considering moving their London-based operations should Britain decide to leave the European Union, the Financial Times has reported. Ireland is reportedly a favored alternate location.
Several Wall Street banks are drawing up "preliminary plans" to move some of their London-based operations to Ireland should Britain opt to leave the European Union, the Financial Times (FT) reported Sunday.
Citing people familiar with the situation, the newspaper said the banks included Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.
The banks declined to comment on the article, but the FT noted that the plans were still at a very early stage.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to conduct a referendum on a renegotiated EU membership if his Conservative party is re-elected in 2015 .
If Europe's sixth-largest economy would quit the EU - a prospect that has unsettled members of the business community in Britain and elsewhere - London might lose its status as the bloc's financial hub, accounting for almost one-tenth of Britain's GDP.
EU member Ireland has attracted multinational corporations in droves, which have set up their European headquarters there on the promise of ultra-low taxes and access to the EU market.
uhe/cjc (Reuters, Financial Times)