Leaving the European Union would be bad for the future of London as Europe’s financial center, said Gary Cohn, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Goldman Sachs Group. He urges the UK to remain within the trading bloc.
The three largest financial centers in the world are London, New York and Tokyo. There is widespread talk of London soon losing the top spot.
In a BBC interview, Mr. Cohn said his investment bank would like to stay operating in London, the only financial center that rivals New York. He implied that if Brits voted to leave the EU in the 2017 referendum (if Conservatives win the general election), Goldman Sachs’ European headquarters might have to move.
Mr. Cohn said:
“I think for the UK it’s imperative to keep the financial services industry in London. We all want to stay in London. I think that having a great financial capital of the world staying in the UK and having the UK be part of Europe is the best thing for all of us.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said that if the Conservatives win May’s general election, he will hold an “in-or-out” referendum. There is increasing evidence that the British population is gradually becoming more euro-skeptic.
Mr. Cohn implied his bank’s European headquarters would leave London if the UK left the EU.
Hundreds of thousands of business people, especially City of London traders, money managers, bankers and insurers are alarmed at the prospect of being excluded from the single market. A single market is a group of countries that do not charge taxes on the goods and services they trade with each other, consequently forming one large market.
Most businesses in the UK favour remaining in Europe. According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), 71% of its members said the EU has had an overall positive impact on their business, including 67% of SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) members. About 78% of CBI members said if there were a referendum today, they would vote to stay within the EU, with 77% of SMEs taking the same position.
Nigel Farage, leader of anti-EU party UKIP, said:
“EU politics is dominated by big banks, big business and big government. Goldman Sachs was politically involved in getting Greece into the euro and having a former employee appointed as the puppet prime minister of Italy.”
“Goldman Sachs represents the governing status quo and not the global trading capital that the City of London needs to be,” said Nigel Farage.
Chief Executive of Business for Britain pointed out that Goldman Sachs has threatened to move its European headquarters from London before – when the UK was debating whether to join the Euro. He said the banking giant predicted London would lose out “They were wrong then, and they are wrong now,” he added.
Video – Staying within EU best for UK, says Gary Cohn
Gary Cohn, talking to BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, explaining why the UK needs to stay in the EU.