Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said it’s “without question” that financial firms will pull business out of the U.K. if voters choose to leave the European Union, echoing the sentiments of lenders including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc.
Some firms are already drawing up contingency plans for a British exit from the EU, or a so-called Brexit, Carney, 50, told the U.K. Treasury Committee today. He wouldn’t say how many jobs would be lost if voters choose to depart in the June 23 referendum and declined to name the institutions.
Several of the world’s biggest banks have warned that a Brexit would threaten London’s status as a global business hub and cost the city jobs and money. HSBC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver said last month his bank would probably move about 1,000 investment bankers to Paris while ING Groep NV boss Ralph Hamers said his firm would “go with the flow” in reducing staffing levels.
The destinations banks choose “depend on strategy and where they have either pre-existing assets,” Carney told lawmakers. “They include Ireland or jurisdictions on the continent.”
Some lawmakers accused Carney of jeopardizing the the central bank’s credibility and overstating the positives for staying within the European bloc, citing BOE statements including an October report and a letter published Tuesday. The U.K. government, along with much of the financial-services industry in London, is against a Brexit.
“Economic questions are important questions in terms of the broader decision the people of the U.K. have to make,” said Carney, a former Goldman Sachs executive. “The language we’ve used in the report, the language we use in the letter, is careful.”