Paris wants a piece of London’s finance, and it is making its pitch for it.
The Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association, Antony Browne, warned over the weekend that international banks would leave the City at the beginning of 2017.
London is irreplaceable, and its business could be spread to New York, Frankfurt, Dublin, Berlin, and Warsaw. But, Paris wants is a fair share and, along with an offer of tax perks, it is launching an advertising campaign.
The choose Paris pitch
Billboards at Heathrow Airport, Paris La Defense and Eurostar feature posters with a frog and the slogan “Tired of the fog? Try the frogs!” Choose Paris “La Defense.”
La Defense is the Parisian business quarter. Rents are expensive in Paris, but not comparable to London, and it boasts less expensive and probably better public transport. And Paris has the culture, the style, and the schools to attract talent.
So, Paris is making its pitch.
Besides posters, French financial regulators are simplifying the process of registration for finance companies, allowing for documents to be filed in English. And there will be tax breaks for expatriates living in France.
One of the obvious questions is where euro trading will move, Frankfurt or Paris. It is unlikely that Britain will be able to maintain the right to clear deals denominated in euros following Brexit. And as the banking industry will be looking for continuity of service, the move will begin earlier.
Another piece of the pie eyes by Paris are the hedge funds. 85% of Europe’s hedge funds are based in London.
Last but not least, there is a big chunk of the insurance and reinsurance sector.
Although Paris is home to only 3% of global foreign exchange turnover, but La Défense is home to 400 companies and 160,000 employees.
Many companies in Britain have warned that “passporting” rights are vital to their business. The Prime Minister has made clear that control over immigration takes precedence over access to the single market.