Financial services firms are preparing to transfer assets worth £800bn from the UK to other locations within the European Union in contingency planning for Brexit, according to a report by EY.

The study, which tracked the Brexit strategies of 222 financial services firms, revealed that the £800bn figure reflected public announcements. Twenty of the surveyed firms announced plans to shift assets out of London to Europe since the EU referendum.

Overall, 36% of the firms confirmed or unveiled plans to shift operations or employees from the UK to Europe as of 30 November 2018. In the previous year, this figure was 31%.

The same view was cited by 44% of wealth and asset managers, 56% of universal and investment banks and brokerages, and 42% of insurers and insurance brokers.

The study also found nearly 2,000 new financial services positions filled locally in Europe in response to Brexit.

Dublin emerged as the most popular location for firms planning relocation. Frankfurt, Luxembourg, and Paris too were favourite picks for financial firms seeking to establish post-Brexit EU hubs.

EY UK financial services leader Omar Ali said: “Deal or no deal, financial services companies’ main priority is to protect their customers and investors from any post-Brexit fall-out and operational decisions are following a “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” strategy.

“Whilst roles will no doubt move from the UK, many firms are only moving those employees deemed essential and are hiring locally given the expense of relocation.”