Banking giant Goldman Sachs will relocate hundreds of staff out of London before any Brexit deal is struck as part of its contingency plans for the UK leaving the European Union, the company’s Europe chief executive Richard Gnodde has confirmed.
In an interview with CNBC, Mr Gnodde, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International, revealed the bank had begun contingency plans to move people out of the capital just a week before Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on March 29, officially starting the proceedings to leave the EU.
"We are going to start to execute on those contingency plans," Mr Gnodde told CNBC on Tuesday.
"For this first period, this is really the period as we put in place contingency plans, this is in the hundreds of people as opposed to anything greater than that," he said.
Mr Gnodde added that the bank would initially start hiring staff in Europe and moving people out of London, as well as investing in infrastructure and technology over the next 18 months.
He did not specify which locations would benefit from the move, though he stated that Goldman Sachs had banking licences in France and Germany.
"In the next 18 months we will upgrade those facilities, we will be taking extra space in a number of them, and we will be increasing headcount and capability and infrastructure around those facilities," Mr Gnodde said.
"What our eventual footprint will look like depends on the outcome of negotiations and what we're obliged to do because of them. Whatever the scenario, whatever the outcome, London will remain for us a very significant regional hub and a very significant global hub," he added.
The company employs around 6,000 people in London.
The comments from the chief executive underscore the extent of Brexit-related uncertainty gripping the UK’s financial industry.
For months, there has been widespread speculation that thousands of financial jobs currently based in London could be migrated to cities like Dublin, Paris or Frankfurt, so that the banks affected can continue to offer their services to EU clients.
The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Xavier Rolet previously warned the UK's vote to leave the EU poses a risk to the global financial system and could cost the City of London up to 230,000 jobs if the Government fails to provide a clear plan for post-Brexit operations.
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