The reality of Brexit is now more than nine months old.
Children conceived while Britain contemplated its first attempt at being democratically disagreeable are now actual babies. Three fiscal quarters and an American election have happened since the referendum vote, yet Theresa May just enacted Article 50 last week. That glacial place of British revolt (and what, frankly, did we expect?) has been a discomfiting source of comfort for Brexit opponents hoping for a miracle, but pretty bloody annoying to non-Britons working at not British financial services firms in Britain. They understand better than most that Article 50 just starts the clock on Britain's negotiations to leave the EU, and with May asking Europe for everything in exchange for nothing, they are also aware that this shite could drag on until Prince George's coronation.
So, they're reportedly doing what anyone in their right mind would do; begging to get the hell out of London before they have to get pushed out of London:
Tired from months of wondering whether their jobs will be moved or cut, foreign employees at some of London’s biggest banks are taking the initiative and asking to be moved back home, according to people with knowledge of the requests.
Staff at Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc have volunteered to return to their native countries inside the European Union should their employers need to relocate staff after Brexit, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. At Societe Generale SA, at least two traders have already moved home -- to France and Italy -- in anticipation that the bank might start dispersing its London-based employees across the continent, one of the people said.
So you're an Italian trader sitting in your London office looking out at British weather in March and wondering what things are like in Rome or Milan, and then you remember Brexit. If you're not at Heathrow by market close, you might be a dangerous masochist.
Hey, you can even make it look like you're being altruistic:
At Citigroup, which last week sent a memo to U.K. staff warning that some "client-facing roles" may be relocated, at least two Italian bankers have offered to be relocated back to Milan, one person said. Foreign bankers at Goldman Sachs, which is considering moving as many as 1,000 bankers to Frankfurt, have made similar approaches to managers.
What a pair of "heroes." But these two Milanese geniuses have it easy, what if you're a new arrival at a City trading desk? What if you just went the wrong way through the Brexit door?
One managing director at another bank who recently moved from Frankfurt to London to run a trading business left his wife and children behind in Germany on the assumption that his job will be relocated there after Brexit anyway. Only if Prime Minister May secures a good deal for the industry from her EU partners will he consider pulling his children out of school and moving the family to London, said the banker, who asked not to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
Well bad example here, because this obvious Deutsche Banker is likely already dead inside. If only there was a more stark example of bankers looking at Brexit and suddenly desperate to flee London for somewhere much much worse...
One Dublin-based headhunter said she’d already seen a spike in inquiries from Irish bankers living in London keen to return if the right jobs came up.
Congrats, British economy, you've got a full-blown crisis on your hands.