Revolut picks new Canary Wharf HQ as it expands headcount

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Revolut is to become the first tenant in a newly refurbished building in London's Canary Wharf financial district, taking on 40% more floorspace for its new headquarters as the fintech firm accelerates hiring.

Bankers arriving in Canary Wharf will soon be greeted by giant "Revolut" logos on top of the "YY London" building.

Mock-up photos seen by Reuters, a previous occupant of the same site, show one four metre-high sign will - subject to planning permission - face the London headquarters of American banks JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley nearby.

Revolut will take four floors of the building on a 10-year lease from May 2025, increasing its office footprint to 113,000 square feet after leaving its home in the north-west corner of the estate, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The move is a boost for Canary Wharf after it was hit by the planned departures of high-profile tenants including HSBC and law firm Clifford Chance. Other banks like Barclays and Morgan Stanley have committed to staying.

Once ranked as Britain's most valuable start-up worth around $33 billion, Revolut is one of a handful of financial services apps to have emerged in the UK over the last decade, offering financial services without having physical branches. Founded in 2015, it initially used space in start-up incubator "Level39".

Revolut has 40 million customers globally - 9 million of them in the UK - and wants its workforce to reach 11,500 by the end of 2024.

The firm applied for a UK banking licence more than two years ago but is still awaiting approval.

Canary Wharf Group - joint owned by Brookfield and the Qatar Investment Authority - has been suffering from reduced demand for offices since the pandemic and falling property valuations.

The group has since been trying to revitalise the area and reduce its reliance on offices. The HSBC building could include apartments or a hotel space after the bank leaves in 2026, sources told Reuters last month.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes and Hugh Lawson)