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Brexit moves ratchet up ECB’s banking supervision task

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Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), gives her signature to be printed on Euro banknotes in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on November 27, 2019. (Photo by Daniel ROLAND / AFP)

“Larger and more complex” banks are emerging in the eurozone as global financial firms rejig operations ahead of Brexit, the European Central Bank said Wednesday.

Unveiling the list of 117 large banks it will directly supervise from next year — down from 119 at the start of 2019 — the ECB noted four major investment banks have beefed up their eurozone presence ahead of Britain’s departure from the EU.

“Banks directly supervised by the ECB are generally becoming larger and more complex,” the central bank said in a statement, even as the number of “significant” institutions it directly supervises fell slightly.

This year, Europe’s top banking supervisor brought branches of Swiss giant UBS as well as Wall Street’s JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs into its fold “following Brexit relocations”.

In April, the ECB announced it would raise the supervisory fees it charges to the banks under its eye by 20 percent over costs related to preparation for Britain’s EU exit, bringing them to 576 million euros ($638 million).

As well as Brexit changes, Italian banking group Cassa Centrale Banca – Credito Cooperativo will come under the ECB’s microscope from next year.

The lender was born from consolidation in the country’s cooperative bank sector prompted by legal changes.

Meanwhile three German development banks — LBBW, Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank and NRW.BANK — will fall under only national supervision by the country’s Bafin financial markets watchdog, after a successful lobbying campaign.


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