BofA CEO Sees Little Upside From Brexit

Brexit won approval from U.K. voters more than a year ago, but so far Bank of America (BoA) hasn’t seen any benefits from the decision, according to news from Reuters.

That’s according to BoA Chief Executive Brian Moynihan, who told CNBC Thursday (Oct. 26) that he hasn’t found anything from a business perspective that he likes from the historic vote.

“Without Brexit hanging over our heads, we’d just be plugging away, working for customers,” Moynihan said. “There’s no upside here.” The executive noted that the best Wall Street can hope for is that there aren’t any major distortions to the markets or flow of client assets when Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) occurs.

It’s no secret U.S. banking executives were against Brexit from the start, but since the votes were counted and the machinations of the transition were put into motion, banks have been busy making plans to adjust their businesses for when the U.K. exits the EU.

Reuters mentioned such a move in July, when Bank of America said Dublin will become the new base for its operations in Europe, moving away from London. The company has also inked a lease for office space in Paris. Reuters noted that Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are moving European operations out of the U.K. to Frankfurt.

While the banks don’t appear too concerned about Brexit, manufacturers seem to be. The Guardian recently reported that manufacturers in Britain are “putting the brakes” on deploying capital for new factories and other physical plants. As noted in a report from the EEF, cited as an industry trade group for manufacturers, business investment as a percentage of turnover, or revenues, has dipped to 6.5 percent, down 100 basis points from last year.

Firms are waiting for more detail on the machinations — and the consequences — of Brexit. The near-term outlook is also cloudy, as the more than 320 companies surveyed were roughly split on whether spending on physical operations would increase over the next two years — even to replace obsolete equipment.


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