The biggest private equity house on the London stock market is considering turning its outpost in Luxembourg into a fully-licensed hub so that it is protected from a hard Brexit, its boss has said.
3i chief executive Simon Burrows said the FTSE 100 group has an administrative office in Luxembourg which is "where we'd have our formal regulatory approval for Europe" if the UK lost its passporting rights.
"We may or may not have to ensure we have a mirror of our approvals in continental Europe," he said.
With a decision yet to be made, the group appears to be chewing over its options with less urgency than others in the sector, with a wave of financial institutions - including Lloyds of London, JP Morgan and Hiscox - already unveiling plans to expand in Europe post-Brexit.
Most are acting on the assumption that it will be a hard exit from the EU, meaning firms would lose the ability to service clients in the EU once the UK leaves, with Luxembourg emerging as a popular choice.
For 3i, which sold struggling lingerie brand Agent Provocateur in March and is looking to sell off British fashion brand Hobbs, getting a license to passport in the country would see it add a small number of people to the five-person office, which does not do any investing and so is not listed on its website.
Luxembourg is competing with the likes of Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin to woo talent as the pressure heats up for financial services firms to push on with their contingency plans. However Nicolas Mackel, the head of Luxembourg for Finance, said that the battle is not a game of Pokeman where you "need to catch them all."
Continental Europe is a hugely important market for 3i, which last year bought upmarket Scandinavian furniture chain BoConcept, and is expected to remain so amid aggressive pricing and increased competition in the UK.