Lloyd Blankfein has emerged as one of the most important -- and potentially most influential -- business leaders who is prepared to publicly challenge British lawmakers over the country's to leave the European Union.
The CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS) was again active on Twitter Thursday with a straight-talking message for Prime Minister Theresa May and her faltering Conservative government as she prepares for a meeting in Brussels tomorrow with European Council President Donald Tusk that could either define or derail sputtering Brexit talks.
It also comes amid reports that Goldman is looking to create a Frankfurt-based holding company that would merge some of its European operations under one roof following Britain's formal EU exit in 2019.
Brexit talks remain stalled, however, with EU officials refusing to discuss future trading relations with the U.K. until May and her government "clarify" what it will pay in order to unwind previous financial commitments to the EU budget. The delay has caused many business leaders to worry about the economic impact of a so-called "Cliff Edge" Brexit, where Britain leaves the EU without a formal trade deal, and the uncertainty which would follow.
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?— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) November 16, 2017
Lawmakers were granted permission last week to vote their approval on any final Brexit agreement reached with Brussels, but were not given the power to voice their opinion if Britain simply leaves the EU in March of 2019 without any agreement at all.
The Tweet was the latest in a recent series of missives from the increasingly outspoken Blankfein on the subject of Brexit, which not only has massive implications for the broader U.K. economy but also for the fate of U.S. investment banks located in the City of London.
U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , Bank of America (BA) and Citigroup (C) have all explored secondary options on the Continent, with Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Lisbon all vying for new tenants with sweetheart deals on taxes and office space.
BofA is said to be in talks to lease 100,000 square feet of space near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, while JPMorgan is reportedly ready to increase its own headcount in the French capital.
The London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance and Centre for Cities estimates the British capital could lose as much as £18 billion ($23.7 billion) in annual revenue and as many as 30,000 jobs, a figure that EY suggests could rise to 83,000 in a worst-case "Hard Brexit" scenario.
Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I'll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) October 19, 2017
Curiously, although policymakers such as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney have cautioned on the need to arrange what he called "as comprehensive and open a trading and investment partnership between the UK and the EU" as possible, few business leaders have been prepared to criticise the U.K. government in public.
One notable exception, however, has been Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, a lobby group, who warned last month that it was "deeply concerning to many businesses in the UK and the rest of Europe" that a financial settlement had not been reached.
"Both sides must show the leadership and determination to get the talks moving more quickly because jobs and investment across Europe depend upon it," she urged.
Blankfein, it seems, would agree.
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