February 8, 2019 / 10:38 AM / in 4 months

JPMorgan appoints former Finland leader Aho to advisory body

FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - JPMorgan has appointed former Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho to its Europe, Middle East and Africa advisory council, according to a memo seen by Reuters on Friday, as the Wall Street bank prepares its strategy for the region after Brexit.

The memo, signed by Walter Gubert, Chairman of JPMorgan in EMEA, was shared with bank staff on Friday and said insights from Aho’s political and business career would be “invaluable” to the bank’s clients.

A spokesman for the bank confirmed the content of the memo but declined to comment further.

Aho became Finland’s youngest-ever Prime Minister in 1991, aged just 36, and went on to preside over Finland’s accession to the European Union in 1995.

News of the appointment comes less than 50 days before Britain - home to JPMorgan’s EMEA headquarters - is due to cut ties with the EU, in a move likely to transform the way global financial institutions do business across the bloc.

Until now, banks like JPMorgan have used Britain as a gateway to access clients based across the EU. But a loss of so-called passporting rights from March 29 has forced the bank and several rivals to redistribute assets and capital from London to much smaller operations in other hubs including Paris and Frankfurt.

These moves, together with the relocation of hundreds of staff, aim to keep business running smoothly until a new trade deal covering cross border financial services between Britain and the EU is struck.

Aho will join other members of the JPMorgan EMEA council in advising on the bank’s strategy in the region.

He served as a member of the Finnish Parliament for two decades from 1983 and was chair of the country’s Centre Party from 1990 until 2002. He is currently a member of the Executive Board of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Reporting By Sinead Cruise, writing by Lawrence White; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Kirsten Donovan

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