Goldman Sachs Will Start Moving U.K. Staff on Brexit in 2018

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to start moving London-based staff and operations to new or expanded offices inside the European Union next year, as it prepares for the U.K. to lose easy access to the single market after Brexit, the firm’s co-head of investment banking said.

The bank will relocate client-facing staff to various EU cities including Madrid, Milan and Paris, Richard Gnodde said in a Goldman Sachs podcast earlier this week. The rest of this year will be spent establishing which businesses go where and how many staff will move, he said.

"The right way to think about this, this is like buying an insurance policy," Gnodde said in the April 24 recording. "You hope you’re not going to have to use it, but if you do, you’re pleased you’ve got it in place."

Britain’s decision to quit the EU has prompted global banks to establish new hubs inside the bloc to secure continued access to clients in the region. Goldman Sachs is considering making Frankfurt its main EU base and could move as many as 1,000 employees in due course, a person familiar with the matter has said. London could lose 10,000 banking jobs and a further 20,000 roles in financial services, according to the Bruegel think tank.

Not Helping

Other banks discussed their intentions this week on earnings conference calls and at annual shareholder meetings. HSBC Holdings Plc Chairman Douglas Flint said Friday that while the firm prefers to keep staff in the U.K., it’s planning to move 1,000 roles to Paris in the next two years.

UBS Group AG Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti on Friday complained that the U.K. government is “not really helping the process by trying to help the industry to stay in London or do things in London.”

“I do see the danger of people being forced to trigger contingency plans,” he said, adding UBS will make its mind up toward the end or summer or the start of the fall.

Barclays Plc CEO Jes Staley said at a conference earlier this week that his bank would pull the trigger on its relocation plans within six months. Barclays has settled on Dublin for its expanded EU base and is planning to add only about 150 staff there, people with knowledge of the decision said earlier this year.

Deutsche Bank AG Chief Regulatory Officer Sylvie Matherat said Wednesday that 4,000 U.K. jobs at the firm are potentially at risk of being moved abroad.

Goldman’s Gnodde told CNBC last month that his bank would initially relocate hundreds of employees.

In the meantime, the bank is pushing U.K. and European officials "hard" to accept a lengthy transition period to implement the rules to be agreed at the end of the two-year negotiation period, Gnodde said.

"Our objective is to make it seamless," he added.

Watch more