Finance chiefs in last-ditch plea for Remain

Leaders of some of the UK’s most prominent financial businesses made clear their backing for the country to remain in the EU on June 22 – the eve of the referendum.

Andrew Formica, CEO, Henderson Global Investors

Andrew Formica, CEO, Henderson Global Investors

In one of the final salvos from the Remain campaign, owners and executives from more than 1,200 firms signed a joint letter to The Times newspaper backing Britain to stay in the European Union, saying their firms would be “stronger in Europe”.

The letter was an update of one published in February – which garnered 198 names from the business world – with further signatories. Some financiers whose backing for Remain is well-known, such as Richard Gnodde and Michael Sherwood, the European co-chief executives of Goldman Sachs, and Xavier Rolet of the London Stock Exchange added their names for the second time.

Other names were new, but little surprise, such as Johannes Huth, the European head of private equity giant KKR, and Andrew Law, the chief executive of hedge fund Caxton Europe Asset Management, both of whom have donated to the Remain campaign.

But there were others signing up who have kept a lower profile in the campaign so far, and could easily have stayed neutral. They include Andrew Formica, the chief executive of fund manager Henderson Global Investors, and Old Mutual chief executive Bruce Hemphill.

Bruce Flatt, the chief executive of Canadian fund manager Brookfield Asset Management, who came out strongly for Remain in a Bloomberg interview on June 17, also added his name to the list.

US bank Morgan Stanley has donated money to the Remain campaign so it is less surprising to see Robert Rooney, the chief executive of Morgan Stanley International, adding his name. Given the strength of JP Morgan’s previous warnings against Brexit, it was also unsurprising to see Daniel Pinto, European chief executive of the bank, signing the letter.

Another signatory was Mike Wells, the chief executive of the Prudential, who has previously warned that a Brexit might hurt his firm’s fund management arm, M&G.

A number of lawyers and consultants also gave their backing for Remain, including Robert Elliott, chairman and senior partner at Linklaters; John Davies, a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; David Sproul, a senior partner at Deloitte UK; and Ian Powell, chairman and senior partner at PwC.

US financier and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg also added his name to the list.

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