Word from the Wharf: It's 'catastrumphic' – but don't panic yet


Despite his rival Hillary Clinton having led the polls as voting began on Tuesday, Europe woke to the news that Republican Trump had swept to the White House after clinching key battleground states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

The surprise result has already led to many comparisons with the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23, which caught markets on the hop. Senior bankers, fund managers and trading executives speaking to FN in the run-up to the election had warned of market volatility similar to that which followed the UK’s Brexit vote in the event of a Trump win.

The mood among people on their way to work at Canary Wharf – home to JP Morgan, Citigroup, State Street and many more of the world’s largest financial firms – was gloomy, with concern over what a more US-centric Trump administration might mean for business.

An investment banker at one of the large banks said the mood in the office was “down” and “taken aback” by the result, which he described as “catastrumphic”. “After Brexit makes you feel like giving up,” he said.

Another Australian-born executive said these were “ugly, ugly times” that were deeply troubling.

However, many were reluctant to panic, preferring to wait for more details to emerge of Trump’s policies.

A debt capital markets banker who stayed up through the night to watch events unfold, said nobody knew what Trump was going to do but that people were more prepared for this result. “Brexit was more of a shock,” he said.

Another investment banker echoed the sentiment. She said the mood in her office was very different to the one seen the morning after Brexit because people were less emotionally attached. “It’s been entertaining, to be honest,” she said.

A derivatives trader said people on his bank’s trading floor were staying calm. He said: “If it’s going to be really bad there’s nothing we can do.”

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