At 3am on June 24, the alarm of one of JP Morgan’s most senior London bankers rang loudly. Vis Raghavan, deputy chief executive and head of banking for JP Morgan’s EMEA division, had set it just in case Britain had made what many bankers believed would be an unthinkable decision to leave the European Union. Within the hour, it became clear that what had seemed impossible just a day ago, was now a certainty.
The Daily Telegraph reports that across the City, bankers on currency trading desks were mobilised to deal with the huge swings in sterling. But a few floors above them, teams of M&A bankers were fielding calls from anxious clients wanting to postpone any further deal work.
“The shock aspect was absolutely there and I think it would be an understatement to say the market was surprised, given where sterling was trading just the night before,” admits Raghavan.
Britain’s decision to leave the EU now threatens to squeeze the life out of M&A activity at a time when UK domestic dealmaking volumes this year are already the lowest on record.
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