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Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein confirmed his bank would have hubs in both Frankfurt and Paris after Brexit as he prepares to shift jobs out of the UK.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Mr Blankfein said the US bank will “not have a single centre, but two, in Frankfurt and Paris, because they are the two largest European economies.”
“We will have more employees on the continent. Some, if they wish, will come from London, we will hire others,” said Mr Blankfein, without mentioning any numbers.
“Afterwards, it is the people who will largely decide where they prefer to live. And I can imagine that many Americans would prefer to live in Paris than in Frankfurt for many reasons,” added Mr Blankfein, while also praising French president Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to reform the economy.
Mr Blankfein’s comments come after recent visits to both cities, which are locked in a battle to take advantage of Britain’s exit from the EU.
While Paris has scored some victories, Frankfurt’s attempt to become the EU’s pre-eminent post-Brexit financial centre has gained momentum after a string of banks — including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Nomura and Standard Chartered — opted to beef up operations in the German financial capital.
The Goldman chief ratcheted up tension between the two cities as he travelled, sending out tweets in praise of both locations.
“Struck by the positive energy here in Paris. Strong govt and biz leaders are committed to economic reform and are well thru the first steps. And the food’s good too!” wrote Mr Blankfein on the social media platform last week.
Prior to that he wrote: “Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I’ll be spending a lot more time there.”
Goldman Sachs recently signed a lease on a Frankfurt skyscraper that would allow it to add 800 staff in the German financial capital.
The US investment bank agreed this week to lease the top eight floors of the Marienturm tower, a 38-storey building being built in the heart of Frankfurt’s business district. The deal will give Goldman 10,000 square metres of office space in the city with capacity for as many as 1,000 staff, a significant increase from the 200 people it currently employs there.
The bank already has sizeable offices in the centre of Paris.
Goldman employs 6,500 staff in the UK, mostly in London, where it is in the process of building a new European headquarters in Farringdon.
However, it has designed the site so that sections can be sublet if it decides not to occupy all of the 850,000 square feet of available space.