The boss of one of the UK’s largest banks says Brexit is already driving potential talent elsewhere.
Bill Winters, chief executive of Standard Chartered, says there was evidence that standout foreign students were choosing universities outside of the UK, or moving on shortly after graduating.
In an interview with the BBC, Winters said: “We have already had some setbacks for the talent pool in London through the restriction on student visas. That’s already a problem.
“Some of the best talent that we can have in the UK marketplace is coming from students that have chosen to study here and then stayed for some extended period afterwards… We’ve noticed that’s been impacted already.
“More through a sense from non-UK [people] that this might not be such a hospitable place any longer – it’s more psychological than contractual.”
Standard Chartered is Britain’s fifth largest bank, employing more than 1,700 people here.
While it does not have any branches, it is a major player in international markets and is best recognised in the UK through its sponsorship of Premier League Liverpool FC.
Along with various other international banks, it is making plans for life after Brexit in March 2019.
The bank is expanding its Frankfurt branch amid growing unease at the outcome for the financial services sector post-Brexit.
While Brexit secretary David Davis has promised special travel arrangements will be in place for people working in the finance industry, there is much confusion and concern about the future.
Many global banks based in London have indicated they are readying to move operations into the EU – potentially costing thousands of jobs in the UK.
Winters told the BBC: “London will take hits in the context of Brexit… I think big parts of the euro-denominated corporate banking business will be forced into Europe.
“It’s possible that through the Brexit negotiations that there is some sort of extended passporting rule [ability of banks to sell services across Europe from a UK base] but none of us are expecting that quite frankly, or preparing for that.
“We have to prepare for the worst… let’s hope for the best, but we’re prepared for the worst.”
The future of the multi-billion euro clearing sector has been the subject of much speculation, with Frankfurt and Dublin vying to “steal” the business off London.