Jefferies’s Handler Advises Against ‘Knee-Jerk’ Brexit Response

  • Bank CEO says investment bank’s role is ‘to stay the course’
  • Jefferies Group has more than 750 employees in London

Jefferies Group, the investment bank owned by Leucadia National Corp., said it plans to avoid making rash decisions following the U.K. vote to withdraw from the European Union.

“We don’t see a formulaic, knee-jerk or wholesale action as the answer, but rather will assess all facts and act in the long-term interest of every one of our constituencies,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler and President Brian Friedman said Friday in a memo to employees of the New York-based company.

The executives said the firm’s “role and opportunity is to stay the course” now that the referendum’s results have placed “the world once again in new and uncharted waters.” The vote triggered aftershocks that buffeted markets and policy makers, leading to the resignation of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, a plunge of the pound to the lowest since 1985 and a global stock tumble.

Jefferies said earlier this week it’s seeking to expand some European operations and take market share as other firms pull back capital. Wall Street executives including Bank of America Corp.’s Brian Moynihan have said U.S. banks are poised to soak up business from their European rivals.

Jefferies has more than 750 employees in London and views them as “integral to our long-term success,” Handler and Friedman wrote.

Leucadia shares fell 5.4 percent to $17.01 at 9:57 a.m. in New York, the most intraday since March 15.

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