The financial center of Paris intends to seduce Wall Street, in full reflection on the consequences of Brexit, using the election of Emmanuel Macron as argument.

Traditionally, the City of London served as a European bridgehead for major US banks and investment funds. But they will have to make transfers of their employees and their operations after the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU).

To try to recover some of these activities, the new French president sent Tuesday a message to Wall Street by the voice of the former governor of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer.

“Today, France is ready to continue and to accentuate its reforms and to welcome the international financial companies that you represent”, read in English and on the part of Emmanuel Macron, the one who plays the role of VRP for Europlace Paris.

This invitation to dozens of bankers, asset managers and US investment fund managers gathered in a large New York hotel contrasts with the beginnings of his predecessor Francois Hollande. The latter, before being elected, had posed as an “opponent” of finance.

“The result of the French election changes the game, a radical change for the image of France in the world and especially here in the United States we see it in all the contacts that have been ours for 15 days”, estimated Arnaud de Bresson, General Delegate of Europlace.

In fact, the speakers made the article by detailing the economic promises of Emmanuel Macron and in particular those concerning taxation and the labor market.

“He was very criticized for being a banker but for what we do together, being a banker is an advantage,” said Jean-Francois Serval, Constantin – Serval & Associates.

Fierce competition

Behind the scenes, the negotiations have been going well for several months to attract major US banks in Paris.

The result of the French presidential election, perceived in New York as the failure of the populist and anti-European parties, cleared the ground for the promoters of the Paris square. “They were very scared with this and indeed it reassured them,” explained Christian Noyer.

In addition to New York, where they go regularly, the promoters of the Place de Paris have met the financial circles of London and Asia and are particularly interested in the direction that intend to take the major Swiss banks.

But Paris is not alone in extolling its own merits. It faces determined competitors, first and foremost the German market of Frankfurt, the economic capital of the first European economy and home to the European Central Bank (ECB).

Dublin and Amsterdam, both just over an hour’s flight from London, are also on the line, as is, to a lesser extent, Luxembourg or Brussels, where the European institutions sit.

The main challenge is to recover the trading rooms for Europe as they are surrounded by important teams and activities while the other divisions of the banks can be more easily exploded on several sites, explains Christian Noyer.

In case of “hard” Brexit, the London banking sector may no longer be able to access the EU market unhindered. Institutions would no longer have the famous European passport that allows for the sale of a financial product across the EU after the approval of only one of the 28 national regulators.

For now, none of the big five US banks, which employ 40,000 people in London, has chosen Paris. Only the British HSBC has announced 1,000 additional jobs in France.

The Daily / AFP