Five U.S. investment banks offer support for London after Brexit vote

Fri Jul 8, 2016 1:00am EDT
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By David Milliken and Lawrence White

LONDON (Reuters) - Five U.S. investment banks promised British finance minister George Osborne on Thursday that they would try to help London keep its top spot as a financial center, but gave no commitment on jobs following Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

One banker at the meeting with Osborne told Reuters the banks wanted to see concrete moves to ensure firms based in London would retain access to EU markets, however, because "no one in their right mind" would currently invest in Britain.

Since the June 23 referendum there have been fears of an exodus from the City of London if access to the EU's single market becomes significantly harder. Banks like JPMorgan (JPM.N: Quote) have said they could move thousands of jobs.

On Thursday JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: Quote) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote), as well as Britain's Asia-focused Standard Chartered (STAN.L: Quote) said they would try to support London's financial sector.

"Today we met and agreed that we would work together ... with a common aim to help London retain its position as the leading international financial center," the banks said in a joint statement with Osborne.

Citi (C.N: Quote), which had been unable to attend the meeting, signed the statement later on Thursday.

The statement said no other city in Europe had capital markets as deep as those of London, but the banks made no commitment about keeping jobs in Britain.

Banks at the meeting sought immediate reassurance over the fate of EU staff currently working in London, and urged a pragmatic approach to quickly ensure Britain retained access to the EU single market.   Continued...

The Canary Wharf financial district is seen in east London in this November 12, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett