UK Needs Access To EU Tech Talent After Brexit, Says Goldman Senior Tech Exec

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One of the most senior tech executives of Goldman Sachs has said that the United Kingdom must keep its doors open to tech talent from the European Union after Brexit if it wants to retain its position as a tech hub.

The head of technology for Goldman Sachs in Europe, Joanne Hannaford, was asked regarding the effect of Brexit on technology on ‘Exchanges at GS,’ the in-house podcast series of  Goldman Sachs.

Hannaford stated: “By far the hardest thing about technology is being able to find talented engineers.”

She added: “What you don’t want… [is] not be able to have free movement or free employment of people who can foster the kind of technology startup area in London.”

She continued: “It’s world recognised that London really is the capital for technology investment in Europe. And for that continue, we really need to be able to continue to employ and access technical talent from across Europe.”

She noted: “I think that would be the biggest issue that we face in being able to kind of keep the current accelerated growth that you see.”

Last January, David Soloman, the CEO of the company, warned that a hard Brexit could have a negative effect on the investment plans of the investment bank in the United Kingdom. Goldman is completing work on a new multi-million pound headquarters in central London and it employs approximately 6,000 people in Britain.

Hannaford stated: “We’ve been planning as a firm for multiple scenarios that could happen for Brexit.”

She added: “Those scenarios vary from the kind of most extreme, which is that you have to assume that in order to deal with an EU entity, you have to be within the EU, and then the least extreme, which is that we can carry on as we’ve historically done.”

Hannaford said that she expected that Brexit would have “limited impact” on technology from a regulatory standpoint as the United Kingdom would likely continue to follow similar rules after exiting the bloc.

She stated: “Physical distance doesn’t really stop people being able to really kind of come together and communicate [in Europe].

“And I still think that even in a post-Brexit environment that won’t change.”

Hannaford also said that London is arguably considered as “the capital of artificial intelligence in the world.” In 2014, Google acquired DeepMind, a London-based AI business, for £400 million, which is considered as one of the most notable acquisitions in the space in recent years. DeepMind maintains its headquarters in London.