Corporations across the U.S. are reacting to President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States.
As protests have erupted at airports and other locations, some executives are sharing their concerns about the move, with some voicing strong opposition, including several Wall Street leaders.
“We are closely monitoring developments around the new U.S. travel restrictions imposed this weekend,” said Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman in a memo sent to employees on Sunday and cited by a Yahoo Finance story.
“While no individual employees were impacted in their travel to date, we are concerned for those individuals and their families who could be impacted and will provide them support as needed,” Gorman explained.
According to the executive, “We value immensely the contribution of all our employees from all over the world. Continuing to draw on talent from across the globe is a key element of Morgan Stanley’s culture and ultimately to our success in serving our clients.”
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told employees in a message the Trump’s order has the “potential for disruption to the firm,” according to Yahoo Finance.
Goldman has ties to at least six of Trump’s top advisors and Cabinet picks: Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, chief strategist Stephen Bannon, senior White House advisor Anthony Scaramucci and senior counselor for economic initiatives Dina Habib Powell are alumni of the firm; Securities and Exchange Commission chairman nominee Jay Clayton is a lawyer who has represented it.
Blankfein said in his message, “The president has issued an executive order that, generally, bans individuals from seven different countries from entering the United States and freezes the broader refugee program. This is not a policy we support, and I would note that it has already been challenged in federal court, and some of the order has been enjoined at least temporarily.”
Acknowledging the negative impact the ban could have on Goldman Sachs, he added: “If the order were to become or remain effective, I recognize that there is potential for disruption to the firm, and especially to some of our people and their families. I want to assure all of you that we will work to minimize such disruption to the extent we can within the law and are focused on supporting our colleagues and their families who may be affected.”
The Wall Street veteran added his view that the firm stands in favor of a more inclusive United States.
Quoting from Goldman Sachs’ business principles, he said: “For us to be successful, our men and women must reflect the diversity of the communities and cultures in which we operate. That means we must attract, retain and motivate people from many backgrounds and perspectives. Being diverse is not optional; it is what we must be.”
Blankfein ended the message with a request to Goldman Sachs’ employees. “Now is a fitting time to reflect on those words and the principles that underlie them.”
Meanwhile, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and the firm’s operating committee sent its own message to its employees.
“Over the weekend, we have worked to reach out to all JPMorgan Chase employees on sponsored visas who are potentially impacted by the recent orders,” the firm said in a message obtained by Yahoo Finance. “We understand the situation is evolving quickly, so if you have any concerns about your own situation and have not been contacted, please reach out to your local immigration specialist or [human resources] team.”
Dimon notes that JPMorgan has more than 140,000 U.S.-based employees and believes “that our country, economy and well-being are strengthened by the rich diversity of the world around us.”
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told staff that the bank depends on “diverse sources of talent that our teammates represent. In view of this, we are closely monitoring the recent refugee- and immigration-related executive order in the United States, and subsequent developments.”
BofA is also contacting any employees that might be affected by the order.
For its part, Wells Fargo issued the following statement: “We are currently reviewing the executive order and its implications to determine whether it has any direct impact on Wells Fargo team members and our business.”
— Check out GMO’s Inker: Can Trump Save Economy From Hell, Purgatory or Limbo? on ThinkAdvisor.