Bank Chiefs Seek to Allay Staff Concerns After Britain Quits EUby
Pledged a wait-and-see approch to U.K. negotiations on exit
They have changed their tone from the lead up to the vote
Bank bosses from JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon to Credit Suisse Group AG’s Tidjane Thiam sought to allay the concerns of their U.K. workforce that the firms had plans -- for now -- to ship their jobs overseas after Britain voted to quit the European Union.
They said they would wait and see how the U.K.’s negotiations with the EU over fresh terms of trade panned out, before making any decisions on how many employees they planned to relocate and to where. The worry is that Britain may lose its “passporting” rights, which allow banks to reside in the U.K. and sell their products and services throughout the EU.
Today’s memos to staff struck a softer tone than bankers’ comments in the lead up to Thursday’s vote, when several of them said a Brexit could trigger economic calamity and prompt them to relocate thousands of staff abroad.
Here’s what they had to say in their own words today:
- Dimon told his 16,000 U.K. staff that the bank’s operating model in the U.K. would remain the same for the time being. "In the months ahead, however, we may need to make changes to our European legal entity structure and the location of some roles," he wrote in a memo.
- Citigroup Inc. CEO Mike Corbat said there will be “no change in the way Citi is able to conduct its business” for at least two years.
- Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman said: "Despite inaccurate media reports, we have no plans in place to move staff out of the U.K. and will only consider adjustments to our operating model,” in Europe, the Middle East and Africa “as the full impact of the referendum outcome becomes more clear over the course of the next two years."
- Credit Suisse’s Thiam predicted choppy trading conditions, but “no immediate legal implications” for its British clients or employees.
- Barclays Plc CEO Jes Staley said the bank’s strategy he announced on March 1, “was not conditional on the U.K. remaining in the EU” and that it remains “a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank, anchored in the U.K. and the U.S.”
- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief Lloyd Blankfein said the bank has a “long history of adapting to change” and has planned for either outcome “for many months.”
- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said it was "business as usual," and that it had no plans to change where or how it operates.
- HSBC Holdings Plc Chairman Douglas Flint said “our commitment to British businesses, customers and staff in the U.K. remains undiminished.”
- Bank of America Corp.’s Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, president of the bank’s EMEA business, said the company will get a clearer understanding of the “implications” in the coming months.