La Défense, the financial district of Paris, which houses the headquarters of many of France’s big banks and top financial firms could soon to be much less crowded.
That is if you believe the gloomy forecasts in response to the new French government’s plans to tax that sector more heavily.
A transaction levy on shares and a 75 percent rate of tax on income of more than one million euros a year reportedly have many planning to decamp particularly across the channel to the banker friendly City of London.
Thomson Reuters business correspondent Lionel Laurent told euronews: “If you think about, for example, traders and brokerage staff, there is definitely an interest for moving to London where there are a lot of trading houses, a lot of bankers already, there’s more information and there’s a better flow of information. In France we’ve just seen a tax on financial transactions being introduced, that would make it a bit more costly, a bit more complicated to run brokers from France and that’s definitely one area. And we also have reports that some luxury goods companies are set to be thinking about moving executives to London as well.”
Tax lawyer say around 20 percent of France’s top companies are “ seriously reviewing” swapping baguettes for bowler hats.
The mood is not lost on a cash strapped UK government with Prime Minister David Cameron promising to “roll out the red carpet” for those wanting to make the move.
Euronews Paris correspondent Giovanni Magi said: “Just behind me here in the business district of La Défense, one major French bank is currently building five large trading rooms, designed to accommodate around three and a half thousand people. But right now , there’s a chance that by the time they’re built, there may be enough traders to fill them.