PARIS (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs (GS.N) Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said the bank would have hubs in Frankfurt and Paris after Brexit and that it would be up to the staff to decide where they want to move to from London, he told French newspaper Le Figaro.
Blankfein has visited Frankfurt and Paris over the past few weeks as the Wall Street bank pushes ahead with its plans to cope with Britain’s exit from the EU.
“We will have more employees on the continent. Some, if they want to, would come from London, we will hire others,” Blankfein was quoted as saying by Le Figaro, without giving any numbers.
“But we won’t have a single hub, but two - Frankfurt and Paris ... Brexit pushes us to decentralise our activities. In the end, its the people who will largely decide where they prefer to live.”
“And I can imagine that many Americans would prefer living in Paris than Frankfurt for various reasons.”
Britain is currently home to most of Goldman Sachs’s European operations, where it has around 6,000 employees. But bank needs to ensure it will still be able to serve EU clients once Britain leaves, which may limit access to the EU’s single market.
Blankfein said the bank was approaching the time when it needed to make decisions and that it was preparing for different scenarios. He also hoped Brexit negotiators would come to an agreement what would involve a transition period for new rules to come into force after Britain officially leaves the EU in 2019.
France has stepped up efforts to attract London banks preparing for Brexit to Paris after the election of President Emmanuel Macron, who has begun to make labour law more flexible.
The Wall Street bank is also still investing in London where it still expects to fill new European headquarters currently under construction.
Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva. Editing by Jane Merriman