Credit Suisse Sends Memo to Staff on Brexit-Related Restrictions

  • Staff must not promote a particular outcome of referendum
  • Employees told not to attend fundraisers, give interviews

Which Way Will the 30% Undecided Vote on 'Brexit'?

Credit Suisse Group AG asked its employees to refrain from attending and arranging client events where “Brexit” may be discussed, or talking about the issue in public before the British referendum takes place in June, according to a memo.

The Swiss lender asked staff in Britain and abroad to “ensure that it does not engage in activities that are intended to promote or bring about particular outcome in the referendum” during the campaign period between April 15 and June 23, according to the memo. The contents were confirmed by a spokeswoman for Credit Suisse in London.

“Examples of potentially restricted activity include issuing advertisements or communications directly to the public relating to the referendum,” Credit Suisse Chief Financial Officer David Mathers and General Counsel for Global Markets in Europe Adrian Ratcliffe said in the memo. “Arranging client events where the referendum is on the agenda or may be raised in questions and answers” is also forbidden.

London’s financiers and business executives have been warning that a vote to leave the European Union will prompt overseas banks to move jobs elsewhere. A decision to exit the 28-nation trade bloc would triple the chance of a U.K. recession, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Mathers, who oversees the U.K. business, also said that employees must avoid giving briefings or media interviews related to the referendum, while attending fundraisers is also restricted.

Other banks are also addressing “Brexit” with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. contributing to the campaign for staying in the bloc. JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon this week used his annual letter to shareholders to warn that the outcomes of leaving the EU are “large and potentially unknown” and the very best scenario still meant “years of uncertainty.”