Donor Goldman To Staff: Don't Campaign On EU

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 9:03 PM

Goldman Sachs has donated £500.000 to the &#thirty-nine;In' campaign but has told staff they mustn't endorse either side, Sky News learns.

Donor Goldman To Staff: Don't Campaign On EU

Goldman Sachs has warned its staff against endorsing either side of the European Union (EU) referendum campaign despite donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to the grouping leading the thrust to avoid Brexit.

Sky News has obtained a memo circulated on Wednesday to 6.000 Goldman Sachs employees in Europe, the Center E and Africa - most of whom are based in London.

It said that the firm'south decision not to register with the Electoral Commission as a campaigning organisation meant that employees should "not disseminate any material which could be seen as campaigning for either outcome or endorsing the messages of either campaign".

The instruction is designed to ensure that Goldman staff don't fall foul of the Electoral Commission'south guidelines on permitted activities by businesses ahead of the twenty-three June poll.

Other banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse have issued similar guidelines, although neither has donated funds to either side of the campaign.

"Breaches may result in valid and regulatory action against companies, company directors and officers, or senior managers who have authorised a breach of the rules," the Goldman memo warned.

On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission designated Britain Stronger in Europe (BSiE) - the - as the lead grouping for the UK to stay in the EU.

The Wall Str bank presently finds itself in the curious position of helping to bankroll the 'Remain' campaign while being prohibited from actively endorsing it between April fifteen, when the referendum clock formally starts ticking, and June 23.

Below the rules, companies mustn't spend more than £ten.000 on referendum-related activities unless they've registered with the regulator.

A no of senior company executives declare that the Electoral Commission'south guidance has been confusing, and may result in them refraining from intervening further in the debate before the vote takes place.

Goldman told staff that they may "continue to be engaged in with clients on the consequences of a potential UK exit from the EU" and that they can disseminate research and sales material referring to the possible referendum outcomes as long as they're "described in a balanced way".

The firm also said, however, that clients mustn't be surveyed about their views on the referendum, adding that any events organised to discuss the EU in which clients or employees are involved "must've both sides equally represented".

Goldman isn't the only Wall Str firm to have made a financial contribution to BSiE: Sky News revealed on Wednesday that .

JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have also donated.

The decision to do so reflects the anxiety among Wall Str executives about the potential economic disruption that they believe a British exit from the EU would cause.

In the banking sector, possible restrictions on the UK'south skill to access the EU'south single market in financial services, and the wider corporate uncertainty created by Brexit have prompted US banks to keep their money where their mouths are.

The rules governing official campaign spending imply that both the officially-designated 'In' and 'Out' groups can spend £7m in the final 10 weeks before the poll.

However, the Government angered pro-Brexit campaigners latest week when it emerged it was spending more than £9m on a leaflet to clarify to voters why it believed the UK should vote to stay in the EU.

Goldman'south in-principle support for the UK'south membership of the EU is long-standing.

In two thousand-thirteenth, the co-chief executives of Goldman Sachs International wrote that Brexit would be economically risky, warning that "large international and European companies [would] look a Britain divorced from the EU as a much less appealing place".

Goldman declined to comment on the memo.

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