The central banking authority plans to review and crack down on so-called “desk mapping” – or “back-to-back booking” – to determine whether key bank staff, capital transactions and books used by clients based in the EU are not based outside the block.
According to a Bloomberg report, citing anonymous ECB sources, the bank believes that currently too many banks are too dependent on their London units while serving clients across the EU, thus escaping regulatory control and oversight .
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For international banks wishing to do business in the EU after Brexit, the use of blank typos would no longer be allowed.
The main goal is to reduce the number of EU-based clients who are solely or primarily served by City and Canary Wharf units and teams,
JP Morgan, Citi and Goldman Sachs
The ECB is specifically targeting JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Morgan Stanley and other US investment banks, several European media are reporting today.
Most of these banks continued to serve their EU-based clients from their large offices in London.
“The document mapping exercise is at an early stage and still ongoing. Thus, the ECB has not yet given feedback to individual banks on its results, ”said an ECB spokesperson.
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Since the 2016 referendum, banks have reluctantly moved some jobs and activities out of London, mainly to Paris, Dublin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Despite the noise, the modest number of relocations has so far not threatened London’s status as a global financial power.
In addition, movement restrictions on both sides of the Channel, due to the pandemic, have complicated new job displacements and relocation plans.
The ECB, however, has told banks it will no longer allow the ongoing pandemic as an excuse to delay post-Brexit implementation plans.
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Still no financial services agreement
The ECB move comes just weeks after news that France is working to block a post-Brexit financial services pact between the UK and the EU over the ongoing dispute over fishing rights .
The UK and the EU announced in March that they had drafted a regulatory cooperation agreement, known as a memorandum of understanding, on financial services, but it has yet to be signed or formalized.
The deal will outline how financial services regulators in the UK and EU will keep lines of communication open when making decisions, but stop before giving City of London businesses renewed access to EU markets.
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All 27 EU member states have to approve the MoU, and this process has not yet started.
French officials, however, have reportedly tried to block the signing of the MoU due to the country’s fishermen struggling to secure fishing licenses for UK waters.
The problem exploded earlier this month when more than 60 French fishing boats created a blockade around the island of Jersey, leading Boris Johnson to send two Royal Navy gunboats to patrol the protest. French President Emmanuel Macron has sent his own warships in retaliation.
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