LONDON (Reuters) - There could be a backlash against Britain as a financial centre if voters decided to opt out of the European Union, senior investment bankers at Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley and Citi said on Tuesday.
“If Britain were to leave Europe you would see a significant backlash against London as a financial centre,” Colm Kelleher, CEO of Morgan Stanley International told delegates at the FT Banking Summit in London.
Citi’s UK head James Bardrick said that being in Europe was very valuable to the bank and its clients and that any move would be costly but would not prompt the U.S. bank to “hot foot” out of Britain.
“We would have to operationally change the business and reallocate certain businesses back into the EU. That’s not technically impossible...but enormously costly and enormously inefficient... and will mean the scale of our activities here will reduce,” said Bardrick.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties and then hold a referendum on whether to remain a member by the end of 2017.
Reporting By Anjuli Davies, Editing by Jemima Kelly