Goldman Sachs group Inc (NYSE:GS) chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, has warned that London’s financial centre will come to a halt after Brexit.
In an interview with the BBC, he said: "It will stall, it might backtrack a bit, it just depends on a lot of things about which we are uncertain, and I know there isn’t certainty at the moment.”
Blankfein said it will companies will need an implementation period of "a couple of years" to adjust after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019. Should that fail to be the case, he said banks will have to act "prematurely" and possibly shift jobs and operations.
"We are talking about the long-term stability of huge economies with hundreds of millions of people and livelihoods at stake, and huge gross domestic product,” he said. “So, if it takes a little while, I’d rather get it right than do things quickly.”
Goldman, which employs more than 6,000 people in the UK, has contingency plans to transfer hundreds of staff out of London but this depends on the outcome of Brexit.
Blankfein said the bank has held talks with different cities across Europe and has looked at expanding office space in a number of locations, including Frankfurt and Dublin.
A major concern for banks is losing access to Europe’s single market and Goldman is just one of many lenders making contingency plans. Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) is setting up a German sUBSidiary while HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA), JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and UBS Group (NYSE:UBS) are planning to move staff from the UK to the continent.