A few words of English is rather fluid, and a slogan : “Paris is ready and France is back !” The Prime minister Edouard Philippe, came to present the who’s who of international finance meeting this Tuesday at the forum, Europlace, the association for the promotion of the Paris, its measures unveiled last Friday for ” the financial players come in and come back in France to create jobs and wealth : we are determined to meet this challenge “, he hammered, and this, ” by all means “. A challenge that is not won in advance, despite the unique opportunity that is the Brexit.
“The attractiveness cannot be decreed, it shows,” admitted the Prime minister, who wanted to convince the financial community that ” the attraction goes beyond the issues of cost of the work, in particular – and of taxation, even if these are subjects which it is necessary to provide solutions. There’s the quality of life, the ability to send their children to school, to quickly plug in on all of the financial markets. Settle, work, live in Paris, this is not exactly the same thing as London or Frankfurt. Eat, go out, and treat themselves to Paris, London, or Frankfurt, not more “, he noted, while under-heard.
“My enemy is finance” has left traces
In front of the big bankers sat at table, he attacked the dish, its measures are pro-business : “We have committed ourselves on a path to taxation, legal, including in the area of labour law, which is a path of traverse “, he argued. Some of these measures are specific to the sector, such as the elimination of the slice the higher of the tax on wages and salaries as well as the disappearance of the extension of the tax on financial transactions on the transactions intra-day. Others are more general and of a nature to change the perception of France as a tax hell for the high income, in the image of “the abolition of the wealth tax into a tax on the real estate asset and the setting up of a levy unique tax on income and capital gains, of the order of 30% “in a calendar” fast and narrow “.
“We want Paris to become the new prime financial centre eu after Brexit “, has he insisted.
[The speech of Edouard Philippe at the lunch place du forum, Paris Europlace]
If the audience has applauded the linguistic efforts of the head of government and the tone of the speech, the relocation of battalions of bankers, foreigners in Paris are far from being acquired.
Even the boss of HSBC, the only bank to be officially chosen the French capital as the basis of decline in post-Brexit, has shown himself to be prudent. Stuart Gulliver has confirmed that it planned to repatriate approximately 1,000 persons (about 43.000 employees of HSBC in the Uk) who do not have the right to continue their business with european customers, ” may be less in case of soft Brexit “. He pointed out the advantages of Paris, where HSBC has ” already a bank, the RTC, and all the necessary licences – it would be irrational to go elsewhere “, and the French market, which is ” profitable for banks “, unlike Germany, for example. But he showed himself to be wary on the durability of the measures announced by the president of Macron and his Prime minister, in a country known for its fiscal instability.
“The statements of François Hollande on the ‘my enemy is the finance’ are still in the minds “, he confided. “The package of reforms is very, very positive, but everyone wants to see if this will be a radical change that takes time. It is still very early to know if there will be a second term ” for the current president, he noted, at a round table just before the lunch spot.
[The round table with Stuart Gulliver, ceo of HSBC Jamie Dimon, the JP Morgan]
The “open door” of JP Morgan
The boss of JP Morgan, the first american bank in terms of assets, Jamie Dimon, has spoken of the possibility of transferring hundreds of employees to european centres where we have licenses, Frankfurt, Dublin, Luxembourg ” – but not Paris. The leader of the French subsidiary, Kyril Courboin, had not hidden that the labour law, deemed to be highly protective in France, constituted a handicap for Paris in the race to the attractiveness of financial centres post-Brexit. However, Jamie Dimon has opened the door :
“The location of the legal entity and employees are two different things. We already have the licenses to Frankfurt. We will probably use our bank in Frankfurt, but the employees could be in Paris, the netherlands, in Madrid or elsewhere in the EU”,-he said at the same round table before the address by the Prime minister.
The ceo of JP Morgan has not ruled out having to move much more of the world – the american merchant bank employs 16,000 people in the Uk of which three-quarters are working for european clients (large companies) – under the pressure of the regulators functions (legal, compliance, etc). On the other hand, he has dismissed the idea of repatriating to New York a large share of the workforce, sometimes used as a threat by the finance of london. “The United States will not benefit from it very little, this would not be substantial “, he estimated.
The Company’s General voting Paris (not UBS)
The impact of Brexit is not only foreign banks : French banks, too, will have to repatriate a portion of their workforce from London to the continent to continue to serve the customers of the single market. The boss of Société Générale, Frédéric Oudéa, who was also present at the conference Europlace, has told Reuters that he planned to transfer a few hundred people from its investment banking operations.
“In this scenario, in the light of decisions taken by the government, we’re going to focus on the relocations in France,” he said, referring to a range of 300 to 400 positions on the 2,000 currently in London at SG CIB.
In contrast, Paris does not figure, it seems, not in the shortlist of UBS : the swiss bank, to which the French justice calls for € 1.1 billion to be managed illegally to rich potential clients in France to open Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes, a city, Frankfurt am main, priority, and Madrid, and Amsterdam as drop-off points privileged.