London — Barclays has begun shifting direct ownership of its French, German and Spanish branches from a British-based entity to its Irish bank, ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU, according to sources with direct knowledge of the plans. The move shows Barclays putting its Brexit contingency plans into action, in common with other banks which are not waiting for the outcome of negotiations over how financial services will operate after Britain leaves the EU in March. The British bank outlined plans to expand its EU-based Irish entity in a slide presentation to investors earlier this month, saying the unit would primarily consist of Barclays corporate, investment and private banking activities and its Barclaycard credit card business in Germany. In addition to the French, German, and Spanish branches, Barclays will ultimately move all of its European branches under control of Barclays Bank Ireland, one of the sources said. The bank’s other main corporate and investment banking busine...

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