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As ‘Metropolitan elite’ flee Trump and Brexit. Where’s left?

Frankfurt Trump Brexit

It's a new dawn for Frankfurt

It wasn’t long ago that James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, said New York City would be the big winner from Brexit. As U.S. banks look at the need to disperse activities from the UK into the eurozone, Gorman said New York City would be the natural winner. Now that there’s a president Trump, things suddenly aren’t so clear cut.

If U.S. investment banking revenues suffer as a result of Trump-related uncertainty (a distinct possibility), U.S. banks could unquestionably retrench to their home market – which may benefit from Trump’s promised fiscal stimulus. But will bankers, who typically share the liberal opinions and globalized worldview of Theresa May’s “metropolitan elite” still want to work there?

If U.S. bankers in the City of London are anything to go by, the answer is no. “Frankly, I feel like finding a small patch of land in a remote place and living a self-sustainable life,” says one senior U.S. equities saleswoman in London. “The world as a whole seems to be going along the lines of Trump,” she laments.

Peter Hahn, the U.S.-born former Citigroup managing director who’s been in London since 1993, says Trump’s victory puts Brexit into perspective for all the U.S. financiers in London. “Where are the ‘metropolitan elites’ going to go to now? – Canada? – It’s cold up there and it looks big on a map, but the economy is pretty small.” Another U.S. emigre says everywhere looks like a lost cause: “Anywhere we go, whether in NY or London, we will be subject to the movement that has gotten Trump elected and Brexit to happen…” Another says Trump has made her want to stay in London and that if she leaves, it will be for Asia.

Meanwhile, U.S. bankers who’ve left London for New York since the Brexit vote are expressing concern. Joseph Mauro, the former Goldman Sachs partner who returned to New York in the summer to work for the hedge fund launched by ex-Brevan Howard partner Ben Melkman, has been tweeting about migrating to Canada, among other things.

Toronto aside, where can you go if you’re a liberal-minded Clinton voter now? Tell us in the poll below. Meanwhile, Frankfurt springs to mind….


Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com

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