LLOYD Blankfein, the millionaire CEO of Goldman Sachs, the American investment bank has admitted he was wrong about Brexit.
In an interview with Politico, the banking boss said that he was “surprised” at how little economic impact the Brexit vote had caused so far.
“I am wrong because I would have thought there would have been a worse outcome by now,” he said.
Blankfein added: “I thought there would have been a more dramatic effect by now. As of now the effect hasn’t been dramatic, but you couldn’t tell from the way our building is going up – but three years from now – decisions are being made today that might result in less economic activity so there may be a lag – but at this point it hasn’t been as dramatic a fall off.”
He said the U.K. economy was healthy despite Brexit, and said that post-Brexit other EU capitals will see their economies grow due to relocating banks, but funnily enough, his company has announced plans to build a new £1bn base in… LONDON.
“For us, it will be the bigger economies of Frankfurt and Paris,” he said, noting that Brexit will require “more distribution of [the bank] than otherwise, we would have.”
Goldman Sachs European HQ is in London, That will remain the company’s European centre, Blankfein said.
“Therefore, there are decisions made today, and people who are building buildings four years from now won’t be. So far what’s evident is that we would’ve thought decision-making would’ve been altered by now [due to Brexit].”
“Maybe there’s been a lag but certainly, there hasn’t been a dramatic fall-off,” he said.
Nonetheless, contingency plans for banks are well on the way, Blankfein added, in order to be ready for March 2019.
“We can’t rent real estate at the last minute … we have to get central bank approval and licenses, we may have to deal with clients from different entities and repaper relationships,” he said. Banks are thus addressing those topics now, Blankfein said.