- Shutterstock/Iakov Kalinin
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, and bank stocks in the US and Europe are getting clobbered.
In addition to the volatility and potential broader economic implications spurred by Brexit, it could also affect big banks because many of them employ large staffs in the UK.
London-based employees who are not British citizens are now facing uncertainty about the future of their immigration status in the UK, and some firms might consider moving their European headquarters out of London.
Right now, there appear to be more questions than answers, but we’ve rounded up what all the banks have had to say so far.
- REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Here’s a memo to staff from CEO Jes Staley:
“The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union. This is a significant decision and there will be many questions asked in the coming days and weeks about what happens next. The answers are complex but our position is not: we will not break our stride in delivering the Barclays of the future.
“Barclays has stood in service of our customers and clients for over 325 years. We have been here for them through equally profound changes before. And no matter what has been laid before us, we have been here to help them achieve their ambitions.
“That does not change today. And through the uncertainty of the months ahead, be in no doubt that we are ready to do whatever it takes to uphold that promise.
“The strategy we announced on 1 March was not conditional on the UK remaining in the EU. We are a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank, anchored in the UK and the US. That remains the core of our strength and the Barclays of the future.
“I know your customers and clients will be asking you questions today. Whether it’s a pension fund looking for long-term counterparty, or a pensioner looking for holiday money, our answer to them is the same: we are here for you today just as we were yesterday, and this will not change, wherever you are based.
“For those of you who are not UK nationals, but based in the UK, I know that the vote to leave may also raise questions about your own future. I do not pretend to have the answers but I know that our people are the lifeblood of Barclays, regardless of where they’re from, so we will do all we can to support you.
Since I joined Barclays, I have immersed myself in our history and been guided towards our future by the hopes and ambitions of our people. This is a fantastic organisation with a proud past and great future. And what I’ve learnt beyond anything else is that in times of great change, people look to the profession of banking to help them steer a course ahead – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Here’s an internal memo from CEO Jamie Dimon and senior executives Mary Erdoes and Daniel Pinto:
“British citizens voted yesterday to begin a new, independent relationship with the European Union. This decision is a seminal moment in European politics and in the history of the United Kingdom.
“J.P. Morgan has 16,000 employees in the U.K. We are extremely proud of the work they do and our long history in the country. Regardless of today’s outcome, we will maintain a large presence in London, Bournemouth and Scotland, serving local clients as we have for more than 150 years.
“The framework of the U.K.’s engagement with the EU, including trade agreements, will be negotiated over a period of years. For the moment, we will continue to serve our clients as usual, and our operating model in the U.K. remains the same.
“In the months ahead, however, we may need to make changes to our European legal entity structure and the location of some roles. While these changes are not certain, we have to be prepared to comply with new laws as we serve our clients around the world. We will always do our best to take care of our people and do the right thing during times of change.
“We recognize the potential for market volatility over the next few weeks and we are ready to help our clients work through it. As of today, there are no changes to the structure of our clients’ relationships with JPMorgan Chase or their ability to work with our firm, but again this may change in the coming months or years.
“We are hopeful that policymakers will recognize the immense value created through a continued open economic engagement between the U.K. and EU members. As negotiations offer more clarity over the coming months, we will communicate with you and with our clients regarding any relevant changes.”
- Thomson Reuters
Here’s an internal memo from CEO Lloyd Blankfein and COO Gary Cohn:
“As you may have seen by now, the British people have voted to leave the European Union, and we respect this outcome. We have had a strong team focused on this potential result for many months. There is no immediate change to the way we conduct our business. A process of negotiating the terms of the exit will now begin, and is expected to take a considerable period of time. Goldman Sachs has a long history of adapting to change, and we will work with the relevant authorities as the terms of the exit become clear. We are committed to our people and our clients, and will work diligently to ensure the best possible outcome. We will continue to communicate with you as relevant information becomes available.”
- Thomson Reuters
Here’s a memo from CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio:
“Yesterday many of you will have voted on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The outcome of the Referendum has now been confirmed. Throughout the campaign our focus has been to support our customers and the UK economy, and that focus is as important today as ever.
“For our customers and our Group, the message is clear – we are open for business. I know I can rely on you all to provide the service that our customers have come to expect, and importantly reassure them that they can continue to use our banking and insurance services as they currently do. Please use the materials made available to you to support these conversations.
“The UK’s decision to leave the EU means there may be a period of uncertainty as the markets, our industry, and our customers adjust to what the result means.
“I would like to make clear that our core strategy does not change. As one of the UK’s best capitalised banks we remain committed to helping Britain prosper, continuing our support for the UK economy, and providing banking and insurance services that our customers rely on.
“While we are a UK-focused banking group, we do support customers in Europe and further afield and colleagues based in these locations may be wondering what the outcome means for them. There are no changes for any Group colleagues as a direct result of the Referendum outcome.
“We announced in April that we were undertaking contingency planning in the event of a leave scenario. We will now continue this work at pace as negotiations between the UK Government and the EU begin. This programme of work will help us understand, respond and adapt to any future changes.
“I ask all of you to remain focused on reassuring our customers and providing them with the banking and insurance products and services they depend on us for.
“In the coming weeks and months we will provide regular updates to help you understand important developments, and what any potential changes mean for the Group and our customers.
“I have been very proud of all of the work you have been doing to support our customers, and I know I can rely on you to continue doing this and to deliver on our promise to help Britain prosper.”
Here is an internal memo from CEO Michael Corbat and Jim Cowles, the CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa:
“You are no doubt aware that yesterday, after a long and thorough debate, the British public has voted to leave the European Union.
“The UK is unlikely to formally exit the EU for at least two years, and during this period there will be no change in the way Citi is able to conduct its business.
“Last year, we created a group of senior leaders from across our businesses and functions to ensure we were prepared for this possible outcome. While the result of the vote is not what we would have preferred, our diligent work over the past six months means we can be confident that Citi is well positioned to continue to serve our clients.
“One thing that is very clear today is that our clients need our support. Yesterday’s vote is having significant repercussions within the financial markets, which could affect the UK economy. This is a critical time for our client relationships, and we ask that you provide clients with all possible support as they work through how yesterday’s vote affects them.
“For those EU nationals currently working in the UK and UK nationals in the EU, the outcome of the vote has no immediate effect on the terms of your employment. Should you have additional questions, please contact your manager or your local HR representative.
“We will update you regularly throughout this upcoming period. Thank you for your hard work, continued focus and all that you do for our clients.”
- REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Here’s a statement from CEO John Cryan:
“I’m afraid that this is not such a good day for Europe. At this stage, we cannot fully foresee the consequences, but there’s no doubt that they will be negative on all sides. As a bank headquartered in Germany and with a strong presence in the UK, we are well prepared. However, there’s no doubt that the uncertainty created by the referendum’s results will be a challenge.
“Let me add a personal note: I am a strong supporter of the European project, which has brought peace and prosperity for more than 50 years. As a Briton and a European, it especially saddens me that Europe has obviously lost its attractiveness for many of my fellow countrymen. It’s a clear signal to the EU to get closer to its people and to strengthen democracy.”
Here is a video from Cryan:
- Thomson Reuters
Here is a statement from CEO Tidjane Thiam:
“Markets have been impacted negatively by the results of the UK referendum. We expect this market volatility to stay with us for some time as the macroeconomic and political environment adjust to this new reality. In these uncertain and volatile markets our clients need us most. This is an opportunity for us to stay close to our clients and to provide our expertise to them.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- REUTERS/James Boardman
Here is a memo to staff from Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, president, Europe, the Middle East and Africa:
“As you are aware, the UK has voted to leave the European Union.
“In the coming months, we will get a much clearer understanding of what the implications of this might be for our business, as well as the decisions that we will need to make before the change in membership becomes effective. It is to our advantage that we work in an organisation that has a long track record of thriving on change – be it regulatory, market or strategic. We have already successfully completed the largest combination of two companies in financial services history. I am therefore very confident that, when the time comes, we will again execute our plans efficiently, clearly and successfully.
“Our immediate focus however must not be on ourselves but on ensuring that we are squarely behind our clients during these unprecedented times. Across each of our areas of business, we have many clients who will be reflecting on the changes that they will need to make in the light of the UK’s decision. We must make sure that we are a vital contributor to that strategic dialogue and the first port of call when they are ready to transact their business.
“So today, we must avoid distraction and instead think about what we can do to help our clients in the short, medium and longer term. Please make sure that our clients know that we are all committed to guiding them through the challenges ahead and that we will do everything we can to make their journey as seamless as possible. That means that, starting today, it is business as usual.
“Thank you for your continued support.”
- Andrew Burton/Getty
Here is a statement from the firm:
“The UK’s vote to leave the European Union is a very significant decision which will have a considerable impact, the extent of which will not be known for some time. There will be at least a period of two years before an actual exit takes place, so there will be time to implement any changes required to adjust our business to the new environment. Morgan Stanley will continue to monitor developments very closely and will adapt accordingly while prioritising the interests of our clients, our shareholders and our employees.”
- Michael Buholzer/Reuters
Here’s a statement from the firm:
“As a Swiss organization, we’re used to preparing our business for change in line with the democratic will of the public. We are now at the start of a multi-year process and we will approach this in the same way we would in our home market.”
- REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Here is a statement from the firm:
“After the decision of UK citizens to leave the European Union, a long period of negotiations will begin to redefine the future of the economic relationship between the UK and the European Union. Societe Generale will closely follow the progress of the discussions and their consequences in the short, medium and long term. Nevertheless, operating from a dual hub in Paris and London, the Group will adapt in time to best serve its international, European and UK customers. London will remain a major international financial center, and Societe Generale will continue its development in the UK.”