Deutsche Bank is preparing for a Brexit outcome that is “worse than people can imagine”, chief executive John Cryan has told staff in a video message.
The British boss of the German lender, which has already revealed that it is considering shifting up to 4,000 staff from London to Frankfurt, confirmed that it was inevitable that roles may need to be moved.
Mr Cryan delivered his message, first reported by Bloomberg, in an intranet post last week.
He said: “There’s an awful lot of detail to be ironed out and agreed; depending on what the rules and regulations turn out to be, we will try to minimise disruption for our clients and for our own people.
“But inevitably roles will need to be either moved or at least added in Frankfurt.
“We will assume a reasonable worst outcome.
“The worst is always likely to be worse than people can imagine.”
Image: Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan
Details of Mr Cryan’s message were disclosed on Thursday as elsewhere Theresa May sought to engage with business leaders over Brexit at a Downing Street summit.
The Prime Minister was being pressed for more clarity over the process – with the head of the Institute of Directors, one of the groups attending, saying this was necessary to avoid firms “upping sticks” and leaving the country because they have been left in the dark.
After the summit, British Chambers of Commerce president Francis Martin welcomed the “increased tempo engagement” with business in recent weeks and said high-level discussions must continue.
But he also said there needed to be “sustained and structured discussion with business on the dozens of practical, real-world questions that firms face as a consequence of Brexit”.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the Prime Minister wanted to make sure there was “certainty and understanding of our position” among the business community.
Video: ‘Firms need clarity today’ on Brexit deal
The stark language from Deutsche Bank comes after Sky News revealed that John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority, had warned last week that it was preparing for “the hardest of hard Brexits”.
Deutsche currently employs more than 8,000 people in the UK.
Also on Thursday, it emerged that Wall Street giant Citigroup has told staff in a memo about plans to bolster its operations in Frankfurt and elsewhere in the EU, creating about 150 new roles, because of Brexit.
Citi’s existing office in Frankfurt will be beefed up to become a broker-dealer entity, allowing the US bank to continue serving EU clients after Britain leaves the bloc.
The details come days after the move was first reported by Sky News.