Standard Chartered says approval for Frankfurt Brexit hub pushed to autumn

A logo of Standard Chartered is displayed at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China November 23, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered STAN.L will likely have to wait until the autumn at the earliest for approval from German and European banking regulators to turn its Frankfurt branch into its European Union subsidiary, a spokeswoman for the bank said on Monday.

Standard Chartered may also have to move “a few” more jobs than originally envisaged to Frankfurt, the spokeswoman said, as the bank seeks to satisfy the European Central Bank and German authorities about its plans for the hub to conduct its business in Europe after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019.

The bank began interviewing candidates in March this year for about 20 jobs it is moving to Frankfurt, Reuters reported on March 7, after it submitted its license application to German and European authorities in November 2017.

Nine months later StanChart is still waiting for approval, a sign of how European regulators are pushing banks to transfer more staff and submit more detailed plans for their European hubs to avoid them becoming little more than empty shells.

Standard Chartered was among the first of about 20 banks to formally apply for licenses to open bases or expand existing ones in the euro zone by March 2019.

The delay in the finalization of the move comes amid deepening scrutiny by the main European banking regulator to ensure lenders have a long-term plan to staff and structure their post-Brexit hubs.

The ECB, which supervises the main lenders in the euro zone and is a central player in setting conditions for the new bases, said last month it will prevent banks from creating token offices.

Banks will be particularly scrutinized as to whether work that is outsourced from European hubs to countries outside Europe still complies with local regulations within the trading bloc.

Standard Chartered has to that end created a dedicated “outsourcing oversight officer” role in Frankfurt, the spokeswoman said, whose duties will be to ensure that such overseas business activities are compliant with German and European rules.

Reporting By Lawrence White, editing by David Evans