Goldman's Blankfein says London could stall due to Brexit: BBC

Fri May 5, 2017 9:01am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - London's progress as a financial center could stall because of the upheaval Brexit will bring to the industry, Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote) Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein was quoted as saying by the BBC.

When asked whether London's long-term expansion over the past three decades would go into reverse, Blankfein said: "I don't think it will totally reverse."

"It will stall, it might backtrack a bit, it just depends on a lot of things about which we are uncertain and I know there isn't certainty at the moment," Blankfein said, according to a report on the BBC website.

Most of the European Union's financial markets are currently run out of London, but banks have warned some of that business and the jobs that come with it will have to move if they lose access to the bloc's single market.

Goldman's CEO said he would like to see an implementation period of at least "a couple of years" once the British exit deal is agreed, so that banks can have time to adapt.

The bank has "contingency plans" to move people depending on the outcome of the negotiations, he said.

The head of Goldman's international business, Richard Gnodde, warned on March 21 that the bank would begin moving hundreds of people out of London before any Brexit deal is struck between Britain and the EU.

Blankfein said the bank wants to avoid cutting as many jobs as it can, adding that in 10 years' time it was likely that London would remain its largest European office by a substantial margin.

"I would say that it is our hope that we will be able to conduct our business as close as we can to the way we conduct it today," he said.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative 2014 (CGI) in New York, September 24, 2014.     REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo