Transferwise to move European HQ from UK to continent due to Brexit

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) - Money transfer company Transferwise, one of the biggest fintech firms in Europe, will move its European headquarters from London to mainland Europe by March 2019 in order to keep access to the single market after Brexit, its CEO said on Wednesay.

Taavet Hinrikus, who co-founded the $1 billion company in 2011 in London with fellow Estonian Kristo Kaarmann, said if they were setting up the company now, they would not chose Britain for its location due to uncertainty from Brexit.

“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,” he told Reuters at the sidelines of a government-sponsored fintech event in London.

Hinrikus said the global headquarters would remain in London, where the company employs around 120 people, because the UK is its biggest market.

The company has not yet decided where the new European headquarters will be, he said, but it will be set up by March 2019, so that it will be in place when Britain has finally exited the EU, and will provide jobs that would otherwise have been in Britain.

The main reason for the move, Hinrikus said, was the loss of passporting rights, which give EU companies unfettered access to all of the bloc from a single base. (Reporting by Jemima Kelly; Editing by Huw Jones)