So, Goldman Sachs has hired Manuel Barroso, former chairman of the European Commission to help it navigate the landscape the dark side of the post-Brexit vote. Goldman said Barroso will help with the, "challenging and uncertain economic and market environment." He won't be alone.
Goldman, like most other banks has an army of 'government relations' professionals. If you don't know them already, now maybe the time to become acquainted. Government relations are the people at the forefront of banks' attempts to mitigate damage from Britain leaving the European Union. Their profile has just gone through roof.
"In the past, the government relations teams were a sort of early warning system," says Chris Apostolou at Arbitrage Search. "They were the ones who alerted banks when something reckless and wild was coming out of Brussels. Some of the lawmakers in the EU are very anti-banking, and banks needed to intervene at early stages as laws were drafted."
In the wake of the EU referendum, banks' EMEA government relations professionals will be crucial to the regulatory structure governing the City of London. Banks' senior executives will have a keen interest in their activities, as will the British government. With Whitehall short of 700-750 trade negotiators, banks may even need to lend their government relations expertise to the state.
"The government relations people are all in touch with each other now," says a former EMEA head of European relations at one US bank in London. "The immediate issue is going to be to find each bank a new home within Europe."
Unlike the British Treasury, most banks had Brexit contingency teams in place. Before Barroso, Goldman Sachs, hired a new man in Brussels (see below) in March 2016.
Nonetheless, Apostolou says government relations professionals are neither that well paid nor that hard to find. "A mid-ranking government relations professional an expect to earn €110k, based partly in Brussels. They usually have a background in political analysis or even journalism."
Interested? These are the top people, bank-by-bank.
Morgan Stanley poached Davidson from Citi (where she was director of European Government Affairs) in 2014. Prior to that, Davidson rose up through the public policy ranks at various European banks and worked as European Policy officer at the East of England Brussels office. A Eurocrat by training, she studied an MA in European Politics and Administration at the College of Europe in Brussels.
A French national, Doyon has been at Goldman since 2012. Unlike her counterparts at rival firms, she has a UK financial regulation background, having spent eight years working for the then-Financial Services Authority, latterly as head of international strategy for the markets division.
Vliegenthart is Goldman's new man on the ground in Brussels. He joined the bank in March and has a background with the Dutch Banking Association and as a policy advisor to the European Parliament.
An Italian, Marilungo did the rounds of national trade organizations before joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2010. After starting her career as a European analyst at Goldman Sachs, she moved to the International Derivatives and Swaps Association (ISDA), the Italian Banking Association, and the Federation of the Italian Banking Association and the Insurers' Association.
At ISDA, Marilungo was responsible for EU policy advising and advocacy activity on regulatory affairs, skills that will come in helpful now.
A member of Citi’s regional operating committee in EMEA, Houmann leads a team whose focus is ‘working with policy makers on regulatory reform.’ Those policy makers are national governments and, ‘the institutions of the EU.’
Like his counterparts, Houmann’s CV is steeped in public policy. He’s been a ‘policy advisor’ to every European regulatory body out there (the Committee of European Banking Supervisors, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the European Commission and the European Banking Federation.). He’s also worked for the British Treasury and been a board member of lobbying body TheCityUK.
Deutsche hired Trinder from Goldman’s affairs unit in 2009. Trinder spent four years at Goldman and was previously a team leader on European and International Financial Services at the British Treasury.
Schneider has spent three years working for Deutsche Bank in Brussels after moving out of a corporate finance role for the bank in 2013.
Gordon has been the head of government relations at Barclays investment bank since 2010. A member of the Public Policy and Advocacy division at the AFME, he's been one of several government relations professionals providing 'insights and advocacy' to every conceivable branch of the European Union legislative apparatus for the past few years.
Kaye is about as steeped in government affairs as you can be. He set up J.P. Morgan's EMEA government affairs unit in 2002 and has been in charge ever since. Financial News says Kaye was crucial to establishing J.P. Morgan's relations with the European Commission and with individual European governments, all of which are likely to be extremely useful in the years to come.