Amsterdam's Deputy Mayor Kajsa Ollongren has revealed that her office has been in talks with numerous financial firms based in London over relocating to the Dutch capital. Ollongren said that negotiations were underway with fintech firms, specialist finance firms and American and Japanese banks based in London.
Following UK's decision to leave the European Union (EU), many financial firms such as HSBC had announced that they could move jobs out of the country. This was mainly because Brexit could lead to an end of EU passporting rights for UK-based firms.
Raising concerns over why companies may not opt to move to Amsterdam, Ollongren said that the only disadvantage was that the Netherlands currently had a cap on bankers' bonuses. Companies in the country are allowed to pay only up to 20% of banker's annual salary as bonuses. This is much lower than the 100% cap imposed across EU.
"That there is a cap on bonuses is a very good idea. But the fact is, there is a European cap and there is a Dutch cap. And the Dutch cap is much lower than the EU cap. I am now responsible for acquisitions and for getting companies to come to Amsterdam, and that is in a way – and I can understand it – a difficulty," the deputy mayor explained.
However, Ollongren – who is a member of the liberal D66 party – said that this cap could be raised for UK-based firms relocating to the Netherlands.
"The finance minister has himself expressed that the bonus cap we have is meant for the Dutch banks. And we are cooperating in attracting new business to Amsterdam. You have to look at every bank and financial institution and their specific situation and how the law applied to them," Ollongren noted.
Stating that UK-based firms are expected to confirm their relocation plans in the first or second quarter of 2017, she said, "They [financial firms] are all preparing themselves. They don't know exactly what they have to prepare for because the situation is unclear and it will take some time until it is more clear. Financials and others are looking at possibilities and very often Amsterdam is on the shortlist."