The Prince of Wales has visited the London offices of Goldman Sachs to acknowledge the US investment bank’s commitment to keeping its European headquarters in the capital after Brexit.
The heir to the throne toured the firm’s Plumtree Court offices near Fleet Street in central London on what aides said was a visit designed to recognise the global finance giant’s vote of confidence in the strength of the UK economy.
Charles, who was shown around by Richard Gnodde, chief executive of Goldman Sachs International, met the company’s summer interns and new analysts as well as some of the big beasts of the financial world on the trading floor.
The firm had argued strongly in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union and there had been fears it would move its European headquarters to Frankfurt or Paris.
But eventually it continued with its plan to move into Plumtree Court, setting up there in 2019.
Gnodde thanked the prince for his support, and told him: “The building, we spent £1 billion on it and that’s really the symbol of our commitment to London.”
But he added: “It’s really what happens inside the building that’s most important.”
Charles, 72, asked the firm, which employs 6,500 people in Britain and has committed £540bn to help combat climate change by 2030, to work with him on bringing innovators, businesses, and governments together to green the world economy.
Goldman Sachs has been working loosely with the prince on his Sustainable Markets Initiative and is now expected to step up that alliance.
“Our interests are absolutely aligned,” a spokesman for the company said.
In an impromptu speech to staff in the roof garden of the eight-storey building overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London financial district, Charles thanked them for showing him around.
He urged the firm to work more closely with him on making the world economy environmentally sustainable in the run-up to the Cop26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow in November.
“I know there is no such thing as a free lunch but I would be so grateful if there was a way of partnering with Goldmans, with all your expertise and experience in this, to try to create the right degree of impetus, particularly in the run-up to Cop26 but also we have got the G20 coming up,” the royal said.
“And it’s absolutely critical, I have been thinking for so long, to bring the private sector together with the public sector and to include the private sector in these big gatherings. That’s always been to my way of thinking the missing link.”
Last month at the G7 summit in Cornwall, Charles hosted the first ever gathering of chief executives from the world’s leading companies with the leaders of the seven wealthiest nations.
During the royal visit, the prince heard claims all major UK businesses were now focused on transitioning towards more sustainable investment.
Anthony Gutman, Goldman Sachs’ co-head of investment banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told him: “I think there is not a CEO in the country who isn’t focused on this.”