French bankers face pressure to return after Brexit
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.