Don’t gamble your way out of London

Don’t gamble your way out of London

Portrait of Knut Storholm
ドバイオフィス, Middle East
+971 4 446-4080

James B. Steward’s fun column in The New York Times, stating Amsterdam has the best credentials to be the new London after the Brexit, was hardly an in-depth analysis. A few calls with executives here, some mentions of surveys and indexes there, and the Dutch capital came out on top of the list. That result, however, was frantically shared by people working in the financial services all over Europe – including London.

The reason for taking a piece that light so seriously is obvious: a lot of financial institutions are contemplating to move parts of their business from London to other parts of Europe, but they have only a faint idea of the options at hand. For now, no one really knows what will eventually happen. In the worst case, the Brexit might take two years – the separation period foreseen in article 50 of the EU-treaty.

Until the picture gets clearer, organizations have time to gain a better understanding of the cities that stand out: Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dublin, Zürich and yes, Amsterdam. Since none of them is such an obvious hub as London, the best option depends very much on the character of the organization considering a relocation.

Apart from looking at obvious things like tax pressure and the amount of daily direct flights to important cities, relocations can feel like a big gamble. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to determine the optimal location analytically by combining the characteristics of each possible option and the key success factors for each organization.


Engineering Brexit


British industry must fight to "remain": Science and engineering related industries have a disproportionate amount to lose.

Published May 2016. Available in

Here are some hints

Large international headquarters have a lot to gain by forming part of an industry cluster, accessibility for partners and clients and the availability of human capital – including the quality of the living environment. Keeping that in mind, Frankfurt, Paris or Zürich stand out as favorable locations.

「The cities that stand out are: Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Dublin, Zürich and yes, Amsterdam.」
Portrait of Knut Storholm
Dubai Office, Middle East

Services providers have a lot to gain by low costs, skilled labour, especially programmers, and a politically and economically stable country. These criteria favor Amsterdam, Dublin or Eastern Europe. An extra consideration: the back-office activities of insurance companies could benefit significantly from fintech innovations, so moving to an important fintech hub could be beneficial.

Fintechs have a lot to gain by modern regulation, access to capital and access to knowledge. Amsterdam, Berlin or Zürich have a lot to offer for these criteria.

Listicles are fun, but relocations ask for an analysis just as thorough as the ones needed for a new strategy. Then you can pack your boxes knowing you’re going to the right place.

  • Photo credits Jasmina007 / iStockphoto; Sara Lynch / EyeEm / Getty Images; Francesco De Franco / EyeEm / Getty Images

Portrait of Mark de Jonge
アムステルダムオフィス, Western Europe
+31 20 7960-600