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Paris still waiting for 5,500 banking jobs to appear post-Brexit

When The Telegraph’s Lucy Burton wrote in a comment piece this week that “Macron has failed to steal London’s financial crown,” feathers in Paris were no doubt ruffled. But the paper’s pro-London take failed to account for the nuances in the data and the ongoing commitment to the French capital by two major banks in particular: JPMorgan and Bank of America.

According to EY, just over 7,000 jobs have moved from London to the continent post-Brexit, a significantly lower number than the 12,500 forecasted by the firm in 2016, but hardly the “fraction” claimed by The Telegraph. 2,800 of those 7,000 jobs have moved to Paris, although this number should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Arnaud de Bresson, CEO of Paris Europlace – the body in charge of promoting and developing the city as an international financial centre – has told us their own data shows 4,500 direct re-locations out of the 10,000 they expect over time. Whether the EY numbers are accurate or not, Paris is still well-ahead compared to Frankfurt and Dublin, cities that the consultant estimates to have seen 1,800 and 1,200 relocations from London respectively.

JPMorgan has been the key driver of Paris’ post-Brexit financial growth, having chosen the city on the Seine as their EU trading hub. Pre-Brexit, Paris was home to 265 JPMorgan employees, a number that is expected to grow to some 800 by year end. Emmanuel Macron – the pro-finance and ex-financier President – even inaugurated the bank’s new French headquarters in 2021.

While there are reports of JPMorgan increasing their Frankfurt presence by up to 25%, that is largely focussed on asset management and commercial and investment banking, leaving Paris to be the trading hub. This is no surprise given Paris is home to the EU’s largest stock exchange by domestic market cap, Euronext. In Arnaud de Bresson’s words, “Paris is clearly the capital markets centre of the EU 27.”

Similarly, Bank of America has a major European markets hub in Paris, even if people there have been occasionally seen leaving and coming back to London. At the end of last year it employed around 500 staff there. 

The City of Light, as Paris is often referred to, however still struggles to lure Londoners across the English Channel for cultural reasons. In London, South Kensington has long been home to the French expat community given it contains the Consulate, Institute Français and the Lycée Charles de Gaulle (residents have been known to complain of Lycée students smoking on their doorsteps.) Paris, however, seems to have no equivalent for homesick Brits.  

One concern for bankers moving their families to the continent is their children’s education. Paris has recognised this and is building three new international schools in the region: one opened last year, the second is opening this year and the third in 2023. While those children may grow up to be bilingual, their parents still might feel the French language is a barrier to their professional and personal advancement abroad.

With the first round of the French Presidential election coming on the 10th April, eyes will be on Macron – or potentially a successor – to see what the future looks like for Paris. The sentiment is that his reforms are unlikely to be reversed and although Paris hasn’t stolen London’s financial crown – if that was ever its aim – it is certainly making inroads to become the home of post-Brexit Europe’s capital markets.

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AUTHORNathan Risser Insider Comment
  • CI
    9 April 2022

    Thing is nobody believes in voluntary data provided by my even former EY employer in London. Looking into investment banking, yes sector even booming but on other side Baclays,JP Morgan, HSBC,UBS Etc all mostly commercial banks established large presence and offices challenging London location.
    Barclays from small branch in 2015 become the largest banking employer in Ireland. HSBC currently do not almost recruit in back office in core finance, accounting etc. as its Delivery Centre in Krakow (Poland - being the most active financial jobs market in Europe) extended almost by factor of 4x.
    In the past we used to offshore only operational level roles, product control to India, Poland now those days FP&A,Control,Risk Management. Of course decision makers are still staying in London (although 4-5 executives at HSBC left to Asia already, but more and more supporting roles are dissapearing from London's the City or Canary Wharf landscape. Whoever works in Banking knows by own experience and colleagues across those numbers do not end on just modest 9k as per EY. There is trend to avoiding Brexit as overall in London but same time everyone sees that London turns into investment hub like Dubai, dropping way too many strategic and group level roles not necessary C-suits levels.
    Colleagues in Dublin truly enjoying SVP,VP roles recently moving from London, when those in Poland starting building up expertise on previously being considered to sensitive, too complex areas.

    To and the final blow to commercial, corporate banking the British Chancellor of the Exchequer - billionaire Rishi Sunak instead securing regulation to banking starts form Crypto CUrrencies! The most important for UK economy sector, generating almost 19-20% GDP was left alone for itself. No wonder nobody is flashing work and offshoring taking place behind the scene.

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