The CEO of TransferWise, a money transfer company that is among the most successful FinTech startups in Europe, has said at a conference in London that it will be removing its European headquarters from the English capital to maintain access to the single market after Britain leaves the European Union (EU) in two years.
Speaking at the International Fintech Conference in London, Taavet Hinrikus, who co-founded TransferWise with Kristo Kaarmann, in 2011, said that due to Brexit if they were to restart they would not pick Britain as its location choice.
A report from Reuters states that while the company has yet to determine a new European location for its business, its new headquarters will be set up by March 2019 and in place before Britain leaves the EU.
Uncertainty means that maybe if you’re building the next fintech business you shouldn’t build it in London today, until everything clears up again and we understand what’s going to happen with access to talent and so on.
However, since the U.K. remains its biggest market, Hinrikus added that its global headquarters would remain in London, which currently has around 120 people employed.
In the past TransferWise has been reported to have blocked Cashila deposits to its bank accounts.
Brexit Fears Remain
The news that one of the biggest fintech firms in Europe is to remove its European headquarters from London will come as a blow to many in the city who still think that it is the best place to start a company.
Not only that, but it goes against the idea that many believe that Britain has recovered from its Brexit dip.
Just yesterday, the U.K.’s regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced that it had received 321 applications from companies requesting regulatory support after the Brexit referendum compared to 264 in the run-up to it.
Many would consider this a good indicator that the U.K. is once again back on track and is set to maintain its number one position for fintech startups to establish themselves.
Of course, with so much uncertainty still circulating what is to happen once Britain leaves the EU, it’s not yet known how this will impact companies who have their headquarters in Britain and who may be excluded from accessing the single market.
A lot can happen in two years and with negotiations underway it remains to be seen if the U.K.’s Prime Minister Theresa May can get the best deal for Britain that will ensure it retains hold of its number one spot after 2019.
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