Gloating French minister claims Paris will OVERTAKE London as finance leader after Brexit –


French President Emmanuel Macron with British PM Theresa May

‘There will be a new leader after Brexit.’

French finance minister Bruno Le Laire

Mr Le Maire was bullish as he spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, just days after a glitzy event at the Palace of Versailles aimed at wooing the top European and American bankers.

France’s strong regulatory framework, business-friendly reforms being pushed through by President Emmanuel Macron, and the draw of Paris itself added up to a powerful incentive, he claimed.

Mr Le Maire predicted: “There will be a new leader after Brexit. I see the possibility for France to become in the coming years the most important financial centre in Europe and the UK is in Europe.”

Paris is one of several continental cities, along with Frankfurt, Dublin and Amsterdam, which hope to lure business from City of London banks eager to stay based in Europe’s single market after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.


French finance minister Bruno Le Maire claims Paris will overtake London after Brexit

But early indications are that they will see a trickle rather than a flood of jobs move in 2018, with the prospect of a “softer” Brexit discouraging large redeployments of staff.

In September, a survey of 123 firms showed about 10,000 finance jobs would be shifted out of Britain or created overseas in the next few years if the UK is denied access to the single market, a figure which tallies with the 10,000 losses the Bank of England said is plausible on Brexit Day in March 2019. In recent months however, some bankers have suggested it could be far less.

In a Reuters survey, Frankfurt was by far the most popular destination for the new roles, with Paris a distant second.

Still, the French capital was given a boost in November, when the European Union announced it would relocate its London-based banking authority to the French capital after Britain leaves the bloc.

And the French government has staged a high-profile lobbying campaign to lure banks away from London.

On Monday, a day before the Davos summit kicked off in Davos, Mr Macron hosted top bankers and businessmen at Versailles for an apparent charm offensive.

Among those who attended were Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, and Jamie Dimon, who runs JP Morgan.

Mr Dimon went on to say 4,000 jobs could be moved out of JP Morgan’s British offices to the EU.

One US investment banker in Davos said Macron, himself a former banker with Rothschild, had made a very good impression.

But he added: “Before making any decisions, we want to see if the reforms announced by Macron are there to stay,” the US banker said.

Meanwhile Mr Le Maire noted that two large systemic banks, BNP and Societe Generale were already headquartered in Paris, and pointed to other strengths.

He said: “We have a very strong regulatory framework and we have taken the necessary steps to be more attractive for other financial institutions all over the world.

May and Macron hold crunch talks at Sandhurst
Fri, January 19, 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May hold a press conference at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Getty Images

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Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron attend a press conference at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

“That’s why I think that we have the best chance of becoming, tomorrow, the financial centre in Europe. Not the dominant one but the most important one.”

The French finance minister, who ran in the presidential primaries for the centre-right Republican party before switching allegiances and joining Macron’s government, also touched on the issue of US tax cuts, saying it would be wrong for European countries to respond with cuts of their own.

He said: “It would not be the right answer. The right answer to the decision taken by the United States is tax convergence within the European Union and among European member states, especially within the 19 states of the euro zone.”


The City of London will be eclipsed by Paris’s financial district according to Mr Le Maire