French bankers face pres­sure to re­turn af­ter Brexit

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS -

WHILE MOST Lon­don-based bankers are brush­ing up on their Ger­man to pre­pare for a move to Frank­furt post-Brexit, se­nior staff at French in­vest­ment banks ex­pect to say “oui” to gov­ern­ment pres­sure to bring jobs home to Paris.

Most in­ter­na­tional banks in Lon­don have de­clared where they will move their Euro­pean busi­ness in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit, in which the UK would give up ac­cess to the sin­gle mar­ket, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial pass­port­ing rights.

Frank­furt is by far the favourite. Euro­pean gi­ant Deutsche Bank said in April up to 4,000 UK jobs could move to Ger­many.

Although French banks have been wa­ver­ing about their plans, the bankers who work for them in Lon­don be­lieve pres­sure from the gov­ern­ment of Em­manuel Macron, pic­tured, him­self a for­mer in­vest­ment banker, makes a Paris move al­most cer­tain.

“The Macron ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­ally push­ing for the French banks to move some of us to Paris, set­ting up in­ter­na­tional schools there and talk­ing tax breaks,” said a se­nior Lon­don-based banker at one of the three main French in­vest­ment banks. “Per­son­ally, I am pre­par­ing for life in Paris. Un­less we get a (soft) Brexit deal, it’s al­most in­evitable,” he said, ask­ing not to be named be­cause he was not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia.

That sen­ti­ment was echoed by a sec­ond Lon­don-based source from an­other top bank. “Most of the Amer­i­cans are mov­ing to Frank­furt and a lot of them are very ad­vanced in their plans, so there’s a lot of pres­sure for us,” he said.

A source at France’s fi­nance min­istry main­tained there was no un­due pres­sure on the banks, but ac­knowl­edged the gov­ern­ment was keen for do­mes­tic lenders to base more jobs in France.

“This gov­ern­ment is do­ing a lot in terms of at­trac­tive­ness like get­ting rid of the wealth tax. We want the banks to live up to prom­ises they have made, we want them to make a con­crete ges­ture,” one min­istry source said.

French banks feel they can af­ford to wait un­til the de­tails around Brexit be­come clearer be­cause they al­ready have EU li­censes through their Paris head­quar­ters.

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