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Foreign bankers flee Tokyo as nuclear crisis deepens

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Nachum Kaplan and Denny Thomas
Reuters
March 16, 2011

Foreign bankers are fleeing Tokyo as Japan’s nuclear crisis worsens, scrambling for commercial and charter flights out of the country and into other major cities in the region.

BNP Paribas <BNPP.PA>, Standard Chartered <STAN.L> and Morgan Stanley <MS.N> were among the banks whose staff have left since Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, and now a nuclear plant disaster, according to industry sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

Expatriate staff at most foreign banks in Tokyo make up a small portion of the total, by some estimates less than 10 percent. But many are often in senior positions so their departure can have a significant impact.

And while Japan’s investment banking market is famously tough, it’s an essential place for large banks to be and can produce hefty fees.

“The foreign banker presence on the ground in Tokyo now is very thin and depending on how long it takes them to return there could be lasting implications of that,” said one banker. “Every time there’s a washout of foreigners in Japan they never quite return in the same numbers.”

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This article was posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 9:48 am





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