Frankfurt’s Brexit Pitch: We’ll Make It Easy to Fire Bankers

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In the jostling to lure London bankers post-Brexit, Paris touts its cultural and culinary offerings, Amsterdam its digital connectivity, and Dublin its use of English. Frankfurt’s pitch: make it easy to fire bankers.

Hesse, the German state that’s home to the country’s financial hub, is exploring ways to loosen employment law to allow banks to easily fire highly paid employees in a downturn -- which banks can do in the U.K. Hesse Finance Minister Thomas Schaefer said that could make Frankfurt more attractive to companies considering a move away from London.

“The British say: ‘If we hire top earners when it’s booming, we have to be able to quickly reduce our high-wage staff when a boom abruptly stops,”’ Schaefer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in an interview. “You can surely waive strict dismissal rules for those who earn a significant amount of money.”

Though it will likely be years before Britain actually leaves the European Union, a Brexit could threaten the ability of the City’s financial sector to do business throughout the bloc. So Frankfurt and at least a half-dozen other European cities are wooing banks that may move units after the June vote to leave the EU.

“We’ve got to get ahead of the situation on Brexit before other cities like Paris and Milan do,” said Uwe Becker, Frankfurt’s deputy mayor and treasurer.


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