Friday 3 June 2016

American boss of American bank tells us to vote to stay in the EU

The American boss of American bank JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, has made yet another empty threat to pull out of London. This time it's to try and bully the plebs into voting to stay in the EU rather than the usual attempt to bully the government into changing the law.

JP Morgan has had over $27.4bn in bailouts from the American taxpayer. That's about twice as much as they've been fined in the US and UK over the last decade or so for fraud, violating federal securities law, violating financial sanctions, market manipulation, dishonest trading, overcharging mortgages, bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, aiding and abetting fraud and deception.

A bank you can trust on the most important decision we've got to make in living memory?

JP Morgan have form for making empty threats to try and get their own way. Back in 2009 Jamie Dimon told Alistair Darling that if he didn't abandon plans for a 50% tax on bankers' bonuses JP Morgan might pull out of London. The 50% tax went ahead and 7 years later JP Morgan is still in London.

American banks have been ramping up operations in Ireland and elsewhere in the EU for some time - certainly before the prospect of a UK referendum on EU membership was raised - because the EU is making it increasingly difficult for banks to do business in €uro from outside the €urozone. The EU is incredibly insular and banking suffers no less than any other sector from protectionism. It's worth noting, however, that less than 2 years ago JP Morgan said it had no plans to increase its operations in Ireland despite the fact that they already have an Irish banking license, an Irish office and a referendum being pretty certain at that point. They weren't concerned then, why would they be concerned now?

Barclay's Bank's chief executive, Jes Staley, isn't concerned. He says that even if there was a short term economic hit from leaving the EU, London won't lose its crown as the most important financial centre in Europe and he's a Remainiac.