Goldman chief Loyd Blankfein calls for fresh vote on Brexit

17 Nov 2017


Loyd Blankfein, the chief executive of US investment bank Goldman Sachs, has suggested on Twitter that the UK should hold a second referendum on Brexit, in his latest foray into the political arena.

Blankfein (63) is an infrequent tweeter, having posted only 26 times, but has had a dig at Brexit - either directly or indirectly - on four occasions. His account has 70,000 followers.

In his latest comments, Mr Blankfein said, ''Here in UK, lots of hand-wringing from CEOs over #Brexit. Better sense of the tough and risky road ahead.

''Reluctant to say, but many wish for a confirming vote on a decision so monumental and irreversible. So much at stake, why not make sure consensus still there?''

His comments come as the City's calls intensify for swift clarity on the terms of Brexit to prevent the triggering of relocation plans, says The Telegraph.

The Bank of England warned this month that up to 10,000 jobs could be lost on day one of Brexit if no deal is struck.

According to The Daily Mail, Blankfein is a key figure in the City's ferocious lobbying operation to make sure banks are prioritised above everything else in negotiations.

His comments triggered an immediate backlash, with one senior MP saying it was ''unwise'' for an American banker to lecture the country's public.

John Longworth, a former head of the British Chambers of Commerce who now works for pro-Brexit group 'Leave Means Leave', said, ''Blankfein will naturally put the interests of his organisation ahead of those of the British people.''

Goldman employs 6,000 staff in the UK with its new headquarters due to be completed just as the country leaves the EU in March 2019. It is not clear how many staff will move into the new building, which is near Fleet Street in central London.

Blankfein's first Brexit intervention, a month ago, was sent as he was leaving Frankurt, the German city hoping to benefit from business that London risks losing as a result of Brexit. ''Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I'll be spending a lot more time there,'' he said.

Less than 10 days later he sent a tweet of an aerial shot of the new £350=million European headquarters the bank has under construction in London, with the words ''expecting/hoping to fill it up, but so much outside our control''.

Two days ago, he tweeted from Paris where he said he was ''struck by the positive energy'' and remarked upon the ''good food''.

Firms are warning the government that they will have to start implementing contingency plans by the end of March next year. Goldman's plans include taking the top eight floors of a 37-storey block under construction in Frankfurt, which is expected to be ready for occupation in the third quarter of 2019. It could hold 1,000 staff – compared with the 200 it already employs in the German city.

Earlier this week fellow City firms JP Morgan and Prudential told a House of Lords committee they had already begun putting their relocation plans in motion.

JP Morgan said it had begun telling affected staff if they are required to move to Ireland, Germany or Luxembourg. Prudential is moving some of its funds to Luxembourg.

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