LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Senior Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley executives said they're preparing to shift staff and operations from London to elsewhere in the European Union as Prime Minister Theresa May sets up the UK's exit from the bloc.
A day after May's office announced she will open two years of divorce talks with the EU on March 29, Richard Gnodde, co-head of investment banking at Goldman, told CNBC on Tuesday (march 21) that his bank will initially relocate hundreds of London-based employees to expand other offices after the split.
"We'll hire people inside of Europe itself, and there will be some movement," he said.
Brexit may disrupt the financial industry more than others if the UK's separation from the EU costs banks their ability to easily serve consumers and companies across the region. US banks currently work throughout the bloc from bases in London, but the so-called passporting rights enabling that are unlikely to be extended once the UK has pulled out.
Goldman is considering making Frankfurt its hub inside the EU and could move as many as 1,000 employees, including traders and senior managers, a person familiar with the matter has said.
Morgan Stanley president Colm Kelleher told a conference in London that he would "certainly" have to move some people, though the bank will avoid making "grand statements."
"It's not going to be the end of London," he said. "But clearly we will have to adjust."
Morgan Stanley is scouting for office space in Frankfurt and Dublin for an enlarged EU hub, people with knowledge the matter said in February. The bank may initially move about 300 workers to one of the cities.
Meantime, Royal Bank of Scotland Group chief executive officer Ross McEwan said his bank has options in the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany if it decides to transfer jobs.
"Like all other banks we're probably planning for the worst, hoping for the best," he said on Tuesday at a conference in London. "But there's no point in hoping."