New Lord Mayor plays down Brexit threat to City from Frankfurt

Andrew Parmley's comments come after a warning that some bank bosses had their hands "quivering over the relocate button".

The incoming Lord Mayor of London has played down the threat to the City from Frankfurt saying it would take its German rival 25 years to build the homes and office space the capital has.

Andrew Parmley said he was "not at all worried" about the German financial centre as a rival, adding the City's operations were on a "different scale".

His remarks to Sky News come after a report that US investment bank Goldman Sachs was considering shifting some of its assets and operations to Germany after the Brexit vote.

Mr Parmley conceded that some positions in London may move abroad but overall jobs looked set to grow.

He was speaking amid uncertainty for global banks with European headquarters in the UK over "passporting" rules which currently allow them free access to EU markets.

The future of these arrangements after Britain's divorce from the bloc remains unresolved.

If banks decide to move operations to the continent it would deal a blow to London's status as a global financial centre.

Last month Anthony Browne, chief executive of the British Bankers' Association, said: "Their hands are quivering over the relocate button."

Mr Parmley told Sky News: "OK, some jobs may go, some people may decide to relocate, perhaps going to Dublin, perhaps to Frankfurt even.

"But since the recession, despite a fall in banking jobs, the number of overall jobs in the Square Mile has grown and it looks set to continue to grow."

Asked about reports about Goldman Sachs considering a move to Frankfurt, he said: "I'm not at all worried to be frank.

"When you think about it there are more people working in London in financial and professional services than actually live in Frankfurt - there's a very different scale of operation.

"Yes, you could relocate the City's activities in Frankfurt, but in my view it would take a minimum of 25 years to build the office space, to build the homes, the schools, the hospitals and everything else.

"So initially, I've got no concerns about this at all."

Mr Parmley also stressed the interdependence between London's financial centre and the continent.

He said: "The City is important to Europe in the same way that Europe is important to the City."

Mr Parmley said Brexit priorities included being able to have access the best talent from across the world to work in the Square Mile as well as clarification of the status of those from overseas who are currently working in the UK as soon as possible.

He added: "We need access to the single market, one that provides the best outcome for both customers and businesses - whether that's passporting or something that looks like it, we're yet to see."

Mr Parmley, who becomes the 689th Lord Mayor, was speaking ahead of the Lord Mayor's Show this weekend.