HQ expansion at risk due to EU uncertainty says Goldman Sachs boss
Goldman Sachs’ most senior international banker Michael Sherwood has told Channel 4 News that uncertainty over Britain’s commitment to the European Union is already impacting on its investment decisions for new HQ facilities and thousands of jobs.
In an exclusive interview Mr Sherwood told me: “Today we have real-time decisions to make about how we prepare ourselves for these sort of outcomes [EU exit].
“We for example own a piece of land in London where we might build a very large building and certainly when we weigh up the pros and cons, the UK being in Europe is one of those things to the negative if they were to leave.”
In the past few years Goldman Sachs has consciously consolidated almost all its European operations into its London HQ on Fleet Street.
He warned that if the UK left the EU: “I think it would be difficult for us to be as influential and important in capital markets if there were all kinds of regulations that prohibited us from moving freely – like we currently enjoy, and that we could have in another European capital”
He added that London has “built itself up as the centre for European finance. The idea we would leave Europe and we would have to go and negotiate with 27 different sovereign states about our passports, who we could do business with, how we could do business, and I don’t think that would be an environment that would be conducive to having good negotiations.. I think it would be a big drain.”
Mr Sherwood said the notion that German and French banks would continue to have their investment bank HQ in London was a “much smaller probability” than an American bank, such as Goldman.
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