US banks in London could follow rival Credit Suisse in footing the bill for staff to have private coronavirus tests as the Square Mile and Canary Wharf press for staff to return to work.
Goldman Sachs is debating ordering antibody tests for City staff after its Ashok Varadhan, its trading co-head, last month said that it was being considered as a way to get employees back to work. No decision has been made.
“It would only be considered if healthcare workers and other front-line staff get the tests they need first,” one insider aware of the talks said.
If the bank did go ahead with the plan it would be following Swiss rival Credit Suisse, which is testing staff in its major hubs from next month.
Meanwhile JP Morgan is offering private at-home tests to all UK staff, sources told The Telegraph. The system was introduced for workers with symptoms earlier this month. Like Credit Suisse, JP Morgan bankers will not have to share the results with their bosses.
Banks are debating how to best protect staff as they come back into the office, with testing designed to make workers who have antibodies feel more comfortable commuting in. However, an executive at a major UK bank said they do not trust the accuracy of the commercially-available antibody tests.
Last week, RBS told staff that it would kit out offices with thermal imaging cameras, temperature checks and one-way corridors. There will be a limit of two per lift and empty desks will stop colleagues getting too close.