JP MORGAN has signalled its long-term commitment to Glasgow by revealing it has narrowed down its search for a new and bigger base in the city.

The US banking giant is looking for bigger premises to support the continuing expansion of its global technology hub in the city, where it now has more than 2,000 staff. The steady growth of the Waterloo Street operation since its launch 20 years ago has recently led the investment bank to take on additional space on Bothwell Street.

Now JP Morgan is homing in on a city centre site able to accommodate well in excess of 2,500 staff. Employees were updated on the plans this week at a “town hall” meeting at the Hilton Hotel, addressed by Stephen Flaherty, managing director of the Glasgow operation, and Lori Beer, the bank’s New York-based global chief information officer.

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Speaking after the meeting, Mr Flaherty told The Herald the bank was now actively considering two potential sites for the new operation, and hopes to announce a final decision before the end of the year. Mr Flaherty, who joined JP Morgan 18 years ago, said: “It took us 15 years to announce our 1,000th employee. So in the last five years we have seen that crank up quite dramatically, to the point we are now over our 2,000th employee.

“One of the biggest challenges we have got just now is we are seeping at the seams here. We have just taken over another floor on Bothwell Street, which is our second location in Glasgow, which will see us take on another 225 seats. But we are continuing to look for our new opportunity from a real estate perspective.”

Asked whether the bank was looking to stay within the city centre, he said: “We have done an extensive search, and have narrowed the scope to two key development opportunities within the city centre. We don’t want to move outside of that. We don’t want to affect people’s commute or [our] eco-system around junior talent. Things are moving in the right direction, so we don’t see any need to change that.”

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Ms Beer said: “We’re going to build a state of the art facility here, a global tech facility, that will give us the capacity to expand.”

JP Morgan’s commitment to Glasgow comes in spite of the uncertainty posed by Brexit, which could choke the supply of software engineering talent from the European Union. JP Morgan currently has staff representing 40 nationalities working in Glasgow, and continues to attract employees from mainland Europe.

Noting that the bank has made provisions for a variety of Brexit eventualities, Mr Flaherty said: “When it comes to Glasgow specifically, we have made a very sizeable commitment [and] we have got a very sizeable workforce here. And we have got big plans to continue.”

Ms Beer underlined the significance of the Scottish base to JP Morgan’s operations around the world and flagged her expectation the current 2,000 headcount will rise in the next couple of years. She highlighted the leading role played by engineers in Glasgow in building and rolling out the software harnessed by the bank across the globe, and in areas such as its public cloud strategy.

Ms Beer, who noted that JP Morgan is effectively the biggest technology employer in Scotland, said: “It is because of the strong work that’s being delivered. The thing that’s great about it is the teams here are delivering work that enables and supports the execution of our global technology agenda, not just the work to support the UK.”

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Mr Flaherty highlighted the work done by the bank to develop a “junior talent pipeline” to help ensure it has access to the staff it needs. This year 130 people will come through the pipeline. Around 90 will be graduates, with the balance comprising people who have come through modern apprenticeships or other programmes.

Mr Flaherty said the bank has developed relationships with primary schools through activities such as competitions to design apps. It also runs course at the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, which offer credits towards degrees.