There is further evidence of growing frustration over the direction of Brexit talks in a tweet by one of the most powerful bankers in the United States.
The chief executive of Goldman Sachs – America’s fifth-largest bank by market value – took aim at London following a series of meetings in Frankfurt, tweeting: “Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I’ll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit.”
Lloyd Blankfein made his remarks two weeks after the bank signed a lease to substantially increase its office space in Germany’s financial centre.
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
It currently employs up to 200 people in Frankfurt but experts have suggested it could soon house up to 1,000 staff in the new complex.
The investment bank has refused to discuss numbers in detail and – like many rivals in financial services – is yet to declare its hand on whether it will relocate staff from the City of London or hire additional staff to guarantee its current access to the single market.
Nevertheless Frankfurt – home to the European Central Bank – is on course to become the largest recipient of Brexit-related new business within the EU ahead of the UK’s looming divorce.
Goldman currently has around 6,500 workers in the UK.
Video: ‘Urgent progress’ needed in Brexit talks
While banks are making contingency plans to cover their so-called passporting rights, there is growing anger within the wider business community about a lack of clarity on the UK’s future trading status.
The EU has refused to consider such talks until there is greater progress on issues such as citizens’ rights, Ireland’s border and, crucially, the divorce bill.
Sky News reported in the summer how the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, met the Goldman board for private talks to reassure bosses he was pushing for a lengthy transition deal to smooth the exit process.
That possibility – and Mr Hammond’s own position – has since become mired by Tory infighting.
Corporate nerves have become further frayed as Prime Minister Theresa May comes under pressure from Brexit supporters to pull out of the talks altogether.
Commenting on Mr Blankfein’s remarks, a Downing Street spokesman responded: “We’re not going to comment on each individual statement but lets be clear, London is and will remain the world’s leading financial centre.”
The banker has not been afraid to criticise governments and national leaders in his short time on Twitter – despite only joining in June.
Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement
— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) June 1, 2017
His first post took aim at Donald Trump after he pulled the US out of the Paris climate deal.
He wrote: “Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world. #ParisAgreement.”
He has also previously been complimentary about Britain.
During a visit to the country following a terror attack in the capital he said: “Beautiful day in London. Streets busy, everyone out, no concession to terror threats. Have to admire the Brits.”