| LONDON, March 29
LONDON, March 29 Goldman Sachs sought to
reassure London-based staff over potential disruption to its
business as Britain prepares to leave the European Union, in a
voicemail to staff sent by the Wall Street firm's Europe CEO.
British Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger formal EU
divorce proceedings on Wednesday, launching two years of
negotiations that will shape the future of Britain and Europe as
well as London's place as a global financial centre.
The move will also mark the point when investment banks,
whose priority will be to ensure they can continue servicing
their clients across Europe after March 29, 2019, begin taking
concrete steps to prepare for Britain being outside the bloc.
Those steps could involve moving London-based staff to
outposts on the continent or paying them off and hiring
Richard Gnodde, CEO of the European arm of Goldman Sachs,
said last week it would begin by moving hundreds of people out
of London as part of its "contingency plans" for the first
In a voicemail sent to all London employees' phones on
Friday, Gnodde sought to reassure staff that despite
"intensively" preparing for a range of possible outcomes, no big
changes were imminent.
"All of this work leads us to conclude that although Brexit
may well bring some changes to our footprint, a lot will
continue to operate as it does today."
Gnodde said that the Wall Street firm would only be able to
make long-term decisions on its future footprint once
negotiations between Britain and the EU were complete.
"We also understand that you will have many questions
regarding the implications of Brexit," Gnodde said in the
"We are sensitive to those concerns, and want you to know
that we will share any information on changes that will impact
our European footprint as quickly as we can."
Banks are treading carefully, enacting two-stage contingency
plans, to avoid losing nervous London-based staff as they work
out how many jobs will have to move to continental Europe as
Britain exits the European Union.
This first phase involves relatively small numbers to make
sure the requisite licences, technology and infrastructure are
in place, while the next requires longer-term thinking on what
their European business will look like in the future, which is
when bigger moves might take place.
(Reporting By Anjuli Davies; Editing by Susan Fenton)