Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs is still to decide whether it will move up to 2,000 jobs from London Reuters

Goldman Sachs is still to decide whether it will move up to 2,000 jobs from London after earlier reports said the Wall Street giant was preparing to shift highly paid staff if the government opts for a hard Brexit.

The investment bank is preparing to shift one in three of its London-based employees elsewhere in Europe if the UK's loses access to the single market as a result of its exit talks with the European Union, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

Financial services lobby groups have expressed concern that the government may not maintain so-called passporting rights, which allow finance firms based in London to have smooth access to the European market.

At the Conservative party conference last week Prime Minister Theresa May hinted that her government would not sacrifice controls on the movement of labour for full single market access.

But Goldman Sachs said in a statement it continued "to work through all possible implications of the Brexit vote".

It added: "There remain numerous uncertainties as to what the Brexit negotiations will yield in terms of an operating framework for the banking industry. As a result we have not taken any decisions as to what our eventual response will be, despite media speculation to the contrary."

In an open letter at weekend, the CBI, which represents employers, said the government should prioritise free trade in its negotiations with the EU, set to begin in March.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn called on the government to rule out the "worst aspects" of a hard break. She warned that businesses "cannot continue to operate in the dark" about the government's intentions.