LONDON (REUTERS) - The president of Goldman Sachs has urged Britain to stay within the European Union, warning, ahead of a May general election, that an exit would put the capital's status as a major financial centre at risk.
In an interview with the BBC, Gary Cohn said the U.S. investment bank wanted to stay operating in London, the only financial capital to rival New York and the home of Goldman Sachs' European headquarters.
"I think for the UK it's imperative to keep the financial services industry in London," the bank's president and chief operating officer said. "We all want to stay in London. "I think that having a great financial capital of the world staying in the UK and having the UK be part of Europe is the best thing for all of us."
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate the terms of Britain's European Union membership and hold an"in-out" referendum if re-elected in May, raising fears that the world's sixth-largest economy could quit the club it joined in 1973.
The pledge to hold a vote by the end of 2017 has caused particular concern in the City of London among the thousands of bankers, traders, money managers and insurers who fear an exit could shut Britain off from the 500 million-strong single market.