Shrugging off market fears following the Brexit vote, one of the largest banks in the US looks to bolster its operations in London, agreeing to purchase an office block in the city’s financial district for a new European headquarters.
Banking giant Wells Fargo, which has an insurance brokerage arm, has announced that it has entered into an agreement with international developer HB Reavis to acquire the property at 33 Central, King William Street.
Wells Fargo did not disclose the transaction price, but some media reports that cited insider sources valued the deal at around £300 million.
The new 11-storey office building is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017. The bank’s 850 staff members scattered in four London locations will move into their new headquarters in 2018.
“With this new building in London, we are able to bring our team members together in one location in order to more efficiently and effectively manage our operations,” said Frank Pizzo, Wells Fargo regional president for Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Kathryn Ellis, a company spokeswoman, told the Wall Street Journal
that consolidating the bank’s London-based employees has long been planned and would have happened regardless of the Brexit referendum outcome in June.
According to the publication, Wells Fargo’s office relocation in London did not signify job cuts.
Commenting on the company’s latest move, New York banking analyst Ken Usdin told the Financial Times
that “Wells has always stated that its goal with its international businesses was to support domestic clients.”
“They have not made any overt moves so far that would lead us to stray from that understanding,” Usdin said.
The largest bank in the US by market value, Wells Fargo serves corporate, commercial and financial institution customers doing business across EMEA, with the UK accounting for a large part of its regional operations.
Swinton Insurance considers relocation
Royal London office expansion endorsed for approval
Axa awaits Brexit vote before building London’s tallest tower