In October 2017, Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein took to Twitter, as do serious international financiers, including Donald Trump, for the hashtag #Brexit and the merits of Frankfurt as a future banking center.
“I’ll be spending a lot more time there,” he said, in a clear jibe to the City of London. Banking would now be done in a city best known for having a zoo and being home to the famous Frankfurt Skyliners basketball club.
That night I was at a City Awards which included a table from Goldman Sachs. Few of us have been able to resist the temptation to wander, point our watches and ask what time the last flight to Germany left Heathrow.
They took it in the good mood for which the folks at Goldman are world famous.
Blankfein has since retired into irrelevance and has likely moved to Frankfurt, a place as good as once you gave up banking.
Today his buddy / supposed rival JP Morgan, Chief Jamie Dimon, warned that he may have to move all of the bank’s European functions out of London.
Its annual letter to shareholders said, “We may reach a tipping point many years from now where it would make sense to move all functions that serve Europe out of the UK and into mainland Europe.”
His vanity is that business would follow him. He might find, like Lloyd Blankfein – that most of the business will stay in London and can happily be done by someone else if JP Morgan decides to go and watch the Skyliners fight their great opponent, the Bamberg Baskets.
My favorite story about Dimon is how he met his wife. During a student party at Harvard, he approached the future Mrs. Dimon to say to her: “I am Jamie. You are leaving with me tonight.
She did it. He’s a charismatic guy. However, the rest of us may find it easier to resist its openings.