Funds chiefs call for freedom of movement safeguards

Manny Roman (left) and Peter Harrison

In asset management alone, at some firms 15% of staff are from other EU states, Financial News has found.

Extrapolated across all sectors, that would mean the City relies on huge numbers of Europeans, which is why keeping free movement of labour is such a crucial part of the City’s game plan for Brexit (see pages 8-9).

Peter Harrison, chief executive of Schroders, the UK’s largest listed fund manager, said freedom of movement was a “critical” issue for the firm, where 13% of investment executives, and 8% of staff overall, are from other EU states.

Harrison said: “Securing continuing access to their skills is on the government’s agenda, and it is certainly critical to us that this continues.”

At Henderson Global Investors, 15% of the firm’s 490 London staff, or 73 people, are non-UK EU nationals. Andrew Formica, chief executive, said he was worried about the future of these “high performing and valued colleagues”.

Theresa May, the new UK Prime Minister, has pointedly declined to confirm that EU nationals living here will be entitled to stay on in all circumstances.

Formica, who is Australian, said: “They are unsettled about some of the comments coming out of the government and the lack of reassurance that they have been given… and what might happen post-Brexit,” he said.

“That is something that is going to have to be clarified – and we urge the government to clarify that position as soon as possible.”

Formica added: “I hope and expect, not only because they contribute to our business and the economy, but also because it is the right thing to do, that they are being given the reassurance to continue their lives here.”

Manny Roman, outgoing chief executive of Europe’s largest hedge fund manager Man Group, told investors in a conference call following its interim results that while there had so far been no meaningful impact of Brexit on the business, the future of its large, international workforce was important.

Roman, who is French, said: “Any changes to the rights of EU nationals would be a particular concern to us.”

In its London office, where Man Group is headquartered, about 10% of its 800 staff are EU nationals.

Additional reporting by Andrew Pearce

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