This content is from: Portfolio

Goldman, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan Address Trump Travel Ban

In the face of Trump’s immigration order barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., a slew of financial services executives moved to reassure employees

  • Julie Segal

BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase have told employees that the firms will support them in the face of President Trump’s executive order issued on Friday that temporarily bans people traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

On Sunday night, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, left a voicemail message to Goldman staffers saying the firm does not support Trump’s policy and pointing to challenges the executive order is already facing in federal court.

The order applies to travelers entering the U.S. from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It is seen as a nod from Trump to his supporters that he would honor promises made during the campaign to be tough on immigrants in an effort to stem terrorism threats.

But the measure was met with immediate backlash from corporate CEOs. Blankfein said Trump’s measure could disrupt the firm’s business and pledged his support to employees and their families who may be affected by the ban.

Blankfein closed his message by reiterating Goldman’s commitment to diversity and continued efforts to attract people from different backgrounds. “Being diverse is not optional; it’s what we must be,” he told employees.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, President Robert Kapito and human resources chief Jeff Smith wrote to staff that the firm values its clients and employees in Muslim nations and has worked hard to create a diverse culture. Meanwhile, a spokesman for State Street Global Advisors said, “As a global company, we strongly believe that diversity is a strength and inclusion a value that is important for all of our stakeholders.”

J.P. Morgan Chase’s operating committee, which includes CEO Jamie Dimon, also addressed the issue head on, sending a memo yesterday telling staff of its support and communicating that the bank had already reached out to all employees who are on sponsored visas. Like Goldman, J.P. Morgan emphasized that the diversity of its work force has strengthened the bank.

Silicon Valley’s top technology CEOs, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have been outspoken in their criticism of Trump’s immigration moves, which so far have only hit countries that have a majority of Muslims. Executives from the financial industry have not reacted as vehemently. Although money managers and banks may not have as many foreign-born employees as technology companies, the financial industry has become increasingly dependent on highly skilled and tech-savvy employees who are recruited from outside the U.S. But finance executives, who are inherently more conservative than their tech world counterparts, may just be taking their time.