* Move to ensure retains ability to sell to EU clients
* No details on staff moves
* Dublin competing with Luxembourg for business
By Simon Jessop and Padraic Halpin
LONDON, March 10 Asset manager Legg Mason
is setting up a management company in Ireland to ensure it can
still sell its funds to European Union clients after Britain
leaves the bloc.
The U.S. group, which manages $713.8 billion through a
number of independently managed affiliates, including
Edinburgh-based Martin Currie, declined to say if any staff
Legg Mason's decision to bulk up its Dublin operation, which
was first reported by The Irish Times on Friday, comes as
financial service firms which sell into the EU look to protect
themselves should Britain's divorce turn fractious.
"Legg Mason has fund ranges that serve both the EU and the
UK. The firm has a management company in the UK and will have
one in Dublin to allow us flexibility to serve clients, as
needed," it said in a statement.
"We are monitoring events closely, have a plan for each of
our options in place and are able to make adjustments as
necessary to serve their needs. As the outline of Brexit
becomes clearer, we are well positioned to respond as needed to
ensure we are ready to serve our clients."
While most large asset managers already had a management
company in Dublin or Luxembourg, Europe's two other main hubs
for fund services, a number of firms had used London as a base
to sell into the bloc.
Among other firms to flag an intention to change its
operational structure since Britain's June 23 vote on EU
membership is M&G Investments, the fund arm of insurer
Prudential, which said it would set up a fund platform
in Luxembourg to sell to European retail clients.
(Editing by Alexander Smith)