BREXIT has forced more than 400 financial firms to move at least some of their operations, staff, assets or legal entities from Britain to Europe.

Exports of fresh fish and seafood have been severely disrupted by delays since the UK’s transition period ended on December 31 but the New Financial think-tank report said the 440 firms include 126 asset management firms, 81 banks and 65 insurers.

The moves have so far resulted in about 7400 job relocations and about £900 billion of assets have also shifted, roughly matching earlier estimates from consultancy EY.

“Firms are migrating to or expanding in multiple financial centers as many firms have either split the location of their EU business by division, or have responded to Brexit by spreading their staff more evenly across the EU,” New Financial said.

“Given the limited equivalence arrangements in place, over time we expect there to be a drip-feed of business and activity from the UK to the EU,” managing director William Wright said.

“As the EU takes a tougher line on the location of activity and individuals we expect these headline numbers to increase in future.”

READ MORE: Scottish dog food firm forced to move to France due to Brexit red tape

The Governor of the Bank of France outlined in Janauary that at least €170 billion in assets and nearly 2500 jobs had moved from the UK to France at the end of 2020.

SNP MP Stephen Flynn said: “Billions of pounds in assets and thousands of jobs lost to Europe is just the tip of the Brexit iceberg for the financial sector. The UK Government’s shambolic deal risks a total Brexit exodus, leaving the UK an abandoned ship.

“Scotland has built a booming financial sector but the Tory Government at Westminster has put our progress in grave danger. The UK Government never contemplated the cost of a hard Tory Brexit but it’s ordinary people who will pay the price.

“Westminster Tories don’t care about Scotland’s financial sector - they want a hard Brexit at any cost. In Scotland, the best way to protect our financial sector is as an independent European nation.”

READ MORE: SNP warn thousands of jobs relocating from UK to France signals 'Brexit exodus'

The SNP have said they will open European trade hubs to counter Brexit damage if they win the Holyrood election.

The Scottish Government already has trade and investment teams in London, Paris, Berlin, Dublin and Brussels.

The SNP say more are now needed to “strengthen Scotland’s standing on the international stage” and counter “the increasingly isolationist Brexit Britain being pursued by Westminster”.

It has pinpointed two different regions where it believes Scotland can strengthen ties and boost business. These are the Baltics and the Nordic countries, where more than one centre could be established.

READ MORE: SNP to open European trade hubs to counter Tories' 'isolationist Brexit'

Jenny Gilruth, the SNP’s Europe and International Development Minister, said the move comes as Westminster’s Tory leadership “becomes increasingly insular, post-Brexit”. She stated: “Scotland is looking to build bridges with our partners and taking steps to expand our influence.

“The Scottish Government has already established trade and investment hubs in a number of different major cities, and, if re-elected, the SNP will go further and expand our presence by locating at least one hub in one of the Nordic nations and in one of the Baltic nations.

“These hubs are vital in promoting Scottish interests, and by continuing that momentum our ambition is to boost our political, cultural and trade links with our Nordic and Baltic partners.

“In stark contrast to Scotland’s internationalist approach, Boris Johnson’s Tory government has instead been taking steps to downgrade the UK’s reputation on the world stage by refusing to grant full diplomatic status to the European Union’s ambassador to the UK.

“The choice of two futures could not be clearer – the long-term damage of Brexit under an insular Tory government, or the opportunity to secure our place in Europe, strengthen our international standing, and secure a green recovery as an independent country in a post-pandemic referendum.”

The move comes after Gilruth pledged to increase Scotland’s international aid budget by £5 million to support Covid-19 recovery in Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan.

The Scottish Government missions currently co-locate. While some share facilities with agencies including VisitScotland and Scottish Development International, others work from British embassies.

Scandinavia has been in the Scottish Government’s sights for some time, but hopes of setting up a team there in 2020 were put on hold.