J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive James Dimon warned that the Wall Street bank could cut jobs in the U.K. and shift positions to elsewhere in Europe in the event of a vote to leave the European Union.
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"If the U.K. leaves the EU, we may have no choice but to reorganize our business model here," Mr. Dimon said at a J.P. Morgan town hall meeting for staff in Bournemouth, U.K. on Friday. "Brexit could mean fewer J.P. Morgan jobs in the U.K. and more jobs in Europe."
U.K. Chancellor George Osborne, who is campaigning to remain in the EU ahead of the June 23 referendum, was in attendance.
Few senior figures in banking have given such a high-profile warning of negative consequences following a Brexit vote. In private, however, many of the chiefs of the biggest banks—both those with headquarters overseas and those based in London—have made similar remarks.
Mr. Dimon said the bank would need to assess the situation in the weeks and months after a vote to leave, adding that: "One realistic outcome is that we lose the ability to passport our banking and trading services into Europe. But our clients will still need us to trade within what will then be the EU. If that's what the rules say, we will need to do what works."
J.P. Morgan has roughly 16,000 staff in the U.K. across its offices in London, Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Swindon.
"At a minimum, a Brexit will result in years of uncertainty and I believe that this uncertainty will hurt the economies of both Britain and the European Union," Mr. Dimon said.
Mr. Dimon's discussion of Brexit at the Bournemouth event echoes his April 6 letter to shareholders to accompany J.P. Morgan's annual report, in which he said that Brexit would lead to uncertainty and economic pain, even if "one can reasonably argue that Britain is better untethered to the bureaucratic and sometimes dysfunctional European Union" in the long run.