Friday 14 December 2018

Goldman Sachs boss says staff size at new London HQ ‘out of our control’

It is the second time that Lloyd Blankfein has taken to Twitter to air his Brexit views this month.

Goldman Sachs building
Goldman Sachs building

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association City Reporter

The chief executive of Goldman Sachs has raised concerns that the US banking giant may not be able to fill its new European headquarters in London due to Brexit.

Lloyd Blankfein took to Twitter on Monday, posting a birds-eye photo of the under-construction headquarters that is set to open in 2019, as he expressed worries over continued uncertainty.

The banking boss tweeted: “In London. GS still investing in our big new Euro headquarters here. Expecting/hoping to fill it up, but so much outside our control.#Brexit”

The new office – which is being built just off Farringdon Street and near its Peterborough Court headquarters – is expected to be around nine storeys high when it is ready to house staff in two years’ time.

However, it is understood that Goldman has kept the option of letting out remaining space to other tenants, depending on how much square footage it needs for its local workforce.

It is the second time this month that Mr Blankfein has aired his Brexit views on the social media site.

On October 19, he detailed a recent trip to Frankfurt, where the US bank is planning to shift a portion of its UK operations after Brexit.

He said: “Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I’ll be spending a lot more time there.”

Goldman Sachs, which employs around 6,500 people in the UK, has previously confirmed that it is looking to at least double its 200-strong employee base in Frankfurt as part of its Brexit contingency plans.

Earlier this month it was reported that the group has signed a contract to lease eight floors of a skyscraper in the city, capable of holding 800 staff.

The bank has said it is also looking at bolstering its footprint in other financial hubs across the EU.

A raft of international banks, insurers and asset managers are preparing to shift portions of their UK operations to the Continent in preparation for Britain’s divorce from the EU in hopes of safeguarding against the loss of passporting rights which currently give UK-based financial services cross-border access to the bloc.

Many have turned to Dublin for a post-Brexit base, while others have reached out to the likes of Paris and Luxembourg.

But Frankfurt has emerged as one of the biggest beneficiaries of Brexit so far as London-based financial firms increasingly opt to relocate staff to Germany’s financial centre.

Standard Chartered has committed to expanding or establishing offices in Germany, Citigroup has notified its bankers of plans to bolster its Frankfurt office, creating 150 jobs, and Morgan Stanley is on track to move as many as 200 staff.

Mizuho will join a raft of Japanese banks which have chosen the city as an EU hub, including Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Nomura.

JP Morgan is taking a similar approach to Goldman Sachs by planning to spread staff across a number of European cities, including Frankfurt.

Press Association

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