In blow to Britain, Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein says to spend more time in Frankfurt

Blankfein (above, in September 2017) has had meetings with clients from across Germany in Frankfurt. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein is planning to spend a lot more time in Frankfurt, he said on Thursday (Oct 19), as the Wall Street bank pushes ahead with plans to make the German city a major base after Britain leaves the European Union.

"Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I'll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit" Blankfein tweeted on Thursday.

The CEO had been meeting clients from across Germany and addressed a gathering of employees.

Britain is currently home to most of Goldman's European operations where it has around 6,000 employees, but the firm needs to ensure it will still be able to service clients in the EU once Britain leaves the bloc and may have limited access to the EU's single market.

Frankfurt is so far seen as the biggest beneficiary from Wall Street banks moving jobs out of London as a result of Brexit, with JPMorgan, Citi and Morgan Stanley all setting out plans to expand operations there.

Asked about the tweet, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We're not going to comment on each individual statement but let's be clear, London is and will remain the world's leading financial centre.

"We have the breadth of talent, legal system, regulation and deep pools of capital that are simply unrivalled by centres anywhere else in Europe, and we are confident of securing an ambitious economic partnership with the EU that will include financial services."

Earlier this month, Goldman said it had agreed to lease office space at a new building in Frankfurt, giving it space for up to 1,000 staff.

That would be five times the current staff of 200 and see it bolstering activities including trading, investment banking and asset management Wolfgang Fink, Goldman's co-head in Germany, said in September the bank may triple or quadruple its headcount in the country.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment further on Blankfein's tweet.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.