Luxembourg For Finance CEO hits back at Irish politician's criticism
Nicolas Mackel, Luxembourg for Finance's CEO, dubbed as "false accusations" comments made earlier this year by an Irish politician about unfair tactics used by EU countries to lure companies from the UK post-Brexit.
Mackel also told the Press Association that those comments were made for "internal political needs," but that with the new Irish government and the fact that the country was "able to make some announcements on companies," there would be "no more need to resort to this sort of communication."
Mackel was reacting to comments made in March by Ireland's then-Financial Services Minister Eoghan Murphy, who - although stopping short of naming Luxembourg - made thinly veiled comments about some countries offering firms a "back door" to the single market by reducing their capital requirements.
"As long as we can get those sorts of false accusations out of the debate, I think all the other competitive elements are just a normal occurrence of business," Mackel said, while acknowledging that there was a competition "to a certain degree" to draw business from the UK capital.
Last month, Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna, had, during a debate on Brexit in the Chambre des Députés, said that Luxembourg was not - and didn't need to be - overtly aggressive in trying to lure business out of London and that they would continue their strategy with a "calm hand."
Gramegna had also said it was "not a race", and reassured worried MPs in Parliament last week that Luxembourg was looking at a "few hundred" new jobs coming to Luxembourg as a result of Brexit, not thousands like other financial centres in Europe.
"Those who thought that financial institutions would close in London to relocate thousands of employees elsewhere were mistaken," he said.
Mackel, who also said it was natural for asset management companies and banks that already have a Luxembourg presence to use it, added that Luxembourg did not resort to talking down other countries.
"We make it a point never to talk negatively about our competitors, unlike some of them. I think it's just like in politics - you resort to that sort of communication if you really don't have anything to say about yourself and your strength," Mackel said.
A July report from KPMG showed though that Luxembourg was benefiting from post-Brexit relocations more than its neighbours or Ireland. The report listed 21 companies relocating part of their activities to Luxembourg since the Brexit vote, ahead of Ireland (14), Germany (8) and the Netherlands (4).
Northern Trust has since then also announced it would be opening a new EU hub in Luxembourg post Brexit, and Citigroup said it was considering moving jobs to the Grand-Duchy.
(Barbara Tasch, email@example.com, +352 49 93 732)