Published on 21 Nov 2013

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.

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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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5 reader comments

  1. Philip Edwards says:

    Faisal,

    I needed a shower after watching and listening to the latest cockney spiv with a part Yank accent.

    This is one reason why: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/profile-how-fat-mike-became-a-million-dollar-baby-the-huge-bonuses-handed-to-partners-by-goldman-sachs-have-left-the-city-gasping-jason-nisse-looks-at-a-young-beneficiary-michael-sherwood-1468530.html

    And this is just one of the tenth rate Lahndahn barrow boys I wouldn’t trust as far as the end of my shoe. As for the “threat” they will move out of our country if they don’t get their way…….here, let me pay their bus fare to Frankfurt. Tenth class.

  2. John says:

    I really do not think the UK should leave the EU. It would have a VERY negative impact on the economy and jobs! Many people in the UK would be jeopardized for sure. Let’s hope the people of Britain want to stay.

  3. Jonathan Targett says:

    Thanks Mike. It’s nice to have a clear statement from a senior representative of a large City of London employer and potential real estate investor of the detrimental impact that EU-sceptics are having on expansion plans in London’s finance sector. It’s painfully ironic that many of the same Little England fantasists who favour leaving the EU and even those who are intent on staying in, but think an in/out referendum is a good idea should simultaneously pretend to be guardians of the best interests of London as a major financial centre. It should be readily apparent to them that even a referendum on EU membership will put a severe brake on expansion in The City of London if only temporarily, but it is evidently necessary that they be reminded at regular intervals by major City players such as Goldmans of the folly of their actions.

    1. Philip says:

      I couldn’t agree more. We have virtually the whole of two political parties baying for the UK to leave the EU, largely based on an exaggerated fear/hatred of the EU (often incorrectly confused with the ECHR) and utter wishful thinking about the effect of leaving on the UK economy. Unfortunately too many people have been misled by media misrepresentations, fanciful future scenarios or dogmatic views about the world that bear little relation to the reality.

  4. Peter Turtill says:

    I was not very interested in the in/out argument until this program. Now I am in favour of getting out. Goldmans making threats is good enough for me. Stick to making money guys and let the elected politicos screw up.

Comments are closed.