US banking giant Citigroup is setting up an innovation centre in London in one of the first strategic investments by a big US bank in the British capital since the Brexit vote.

Citi is initially hiring 60 technologists for the centre, the bank’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea) chief executive Jim Cowles has said. It will also house the Emea arm of Citi Ventures — which handles the bank’s venture capital investments and innovation partnerships with external companies — and employees from across Citi’s businesses.

The decision to base the centre in London is a boost for the City’s financial technology sector, which experts had warned would be badly affected by the UK’s decision to quit the EU. US banks have been some of the most outspoken on the potential for thousands of jobs to leave the City as a consequence of Brexit. Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, warned last month that more than 4,000 jobs could move if the UK did not strike a good deal.

Citi has picked Frankfurt for its new post-Brexit EU headquarters and is expected to move about 250 of its 6,000 London staff in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s exit. “Citi continues to invest in London, a key hub for both cutting edge technological talent and some of our largest investor clients,” said Mr Cowles. The new London lab will support Citi’s markets and securities services business globally, and will be part of a network that already employs more than 250 people in labs from Ireland to Israel, Singapore and Mexico. “Regardless of Brexit, the UK remains one of the world’s largest pools of diverse talent when it comes to hiring advanced technologists with a strong business background,” said Stuart Riley, global head of operations and technology at Citi’s markets and securities division.

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