EY: Less London?

Posted on Nov 23, 2023. by NTI

Big Four accountant EY is considering abandoning its London headquarters, in the latest sign of a post-pandemic world where everyone wants to WFH.

EY currently occupies the 10-storey More London office near London Bridge, which has been its UK and Ireland headquarters since 2003. Around 9,000 employees are based there, after the firm has reportedly tripled in size since it first moved into the building.

Like many other professional firms, EY moved to a hybrid work policy in 2021 “with the expectation that most of its people will normally spend at least two days a week working remotely”.

They have launched a review into whether to renew the 25-year lease on the building, which expires in 2028. They claim that no final decision has yet been taken.

Huge cost-cutting measures were recently announced by EY due to a decline in demand for advisory work. They are also recovering from a failed break-up plan which cost them $600m (£481m) before it was abandoned earlier this year.
EY are not alone.

Canary Wharf has been hit by a number of high-profile exist, including HSBC, which plans to leave its HQ at the end of its tenancy in 2027 from the ominously-dubbed Tower of Doom. Clifford Chance are also leaving for an office in the City, as are Credit Suisse.

Around 10% of offices in central London currently sit empty, as demand for office space has plunged, and many businesses give up on attempts to lure staff back to their desks (after that pandemic thing we’re not supposed to mention). This comes despite landlords offering longer rent-free periods, in some cases reaching as long as three years.

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