JP Morgan could move thousands of jobs away from the UK if Britain fails to retain access to the European banking passport system, the lender's chief executive told an Italian newspaper on Thursday (7 July).

The passport system allows banks and other financial institutions authorised to operate in a member state of the European Union, or in a state country part of the European Economic Area (EEA), to conduct business across the union.

However, it remains to be seen whether the UK would retain access to the scheme after voting to leave the 28-country bloc.

"The key issue is the 'passport rule' that we have in London and allows us to provide services to clients in the European Union," JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon was quoted as saying by Il Sole 24 Ore.

"However, if the EU imposes new conditions on Britain [...] the worst-case scenario is we would have to move thousands of employees to other branches in the Eurozone."

Two weeks before the referendum, the investment bank, which employs 16,000 people in Britain across its sites in London, Bournemouth and Edinburgh, warned it might cut as many as 4,000 jobs if the UK voted to leave the EU.

"After a Brexit we cannot do it all here and we will have to start planning for that," Dimon said at the time. "I don't know if it means 1,000 jobs, 2,000 jobs – it could be as many as 4,000, and they will be jobs all around the UK.

"If the EU says anybody who does business as a bank with an EU company has to be based in the EU, you're talking about 3,000-4,000 JP Morgan jobs."

A number of investment banks, including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, have reportedly begun looking for suitable alternatives to London in the wake of the Brexit vote.

However, major European banks, including Societe Generale, ING, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank – while expressing their dismay at a potential Brexit on the horizon – said they can avail the banking passport via connections to their respective home markets namely the Netherlands, France and Germany.