Paris preparing to poach EU expat bankers from London

Published:  20 Jul at 6 PM
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Now under its new President, Paris is planning to attract EU expat bankers and financial experts from post-Brexit London.

Newly elected President Macron’s previous dislike of the banking fraternity seems to have evaporated under the necessity to up Paris’s game as regards attracting the brightest and best the City of London has to offer. A former banker himself, Macron is now offering tax breaks for financial professionals from overseas, the easing of EU regulations, more international schools and rules making it easier to hire and fire bankers.

The obvious endgame is to catapult the French capital into the same league as other financial hubs within the EU. At the present time, UK-based international banks and financial institutions are leaning towards or have already taken decisions to relocate at least some of their staff to Frankfurt, rather than considering Paris as a firm destination. Companies such as Society Generale SA and HSBC Holdings are already established in the French capital, making further moves in that direction comparatively straightforward.

Many believe Macron will need to reform the country’s overall economy before seeing any results from his plan. According to the financial media, a major problem is France’s unenviable reputation as a high-tax hub, especially in the realms of social security contributions and payroll taxes. Should Macron keep his promise and slash corporation tax by eight per cent to 25 per cent, the levy will still be in excess of the rates in Italy, Ireland, Germany and Luxembourg, countries who’d also like to get their hands on London’s highly-regarded expat financial professionals and companies.

For many, Italy’s recent ‘non dom’ regime, similar to that in the UK, is attractive, and Frankfurt is also cashing in on with a new ‘hire and fire bankers’ law. However, none of the above is as important as providing 20,000 new finance jobs for those EU-citizen banking experts now slaving away in Brexit-hit Britain, not to mention the total of 140,000 French citizens ensconced in the UK and awaiting even a vague idea of their fates post-March 2019.

The UK has always been a popular destination for the French, and the parallel uncertainty over Britain’s financial industry’s passporting rights could well reverse the multi-decade brain drain of French expat bankers and other European financial professionals.
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