PARIS (Reuters) – Paris is set to become a European financial markets hub as international banks look to the French capital to base some activities after Britain’s departure from the European union, the head of France’s central bank said on Friday.
Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau said that though Brexit was bad news for Britain and Europe, it presented a “historic opportunity” to restructure the European financial system.
In the future, there would not be a dominant financial centre as London is now but rather an integrated network with centres specialised in various activities, he said.
“In this respect, Paris has a lot of assets to become a major centre for corporate finance and innovation in Europe,” he told a financial markets conference at the central bank.
“We have a lot of favourable indications that big international banks will set up their market activities mainly in Paris,” he said
Paris is already one of the biggest centres for corporate bond issuance, asset management and private equity in Europe after London.
Villeroy said the Bank of France aimed to be “the markets’ central bank in Europe” and was supporting a number of initiatives to develop European market infrastructure for commercial paper, collateral and securities lending.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, himself a former investment banker, has taken a number of steps to attract finance jobs from London.
In addition to easing labour regulations months after Macron came to office last year, France has shrunk the wealth tax to cover only real estate assets, introduced a flat 30 percent tax on capital income and scrapped the highest payroll tax for banks.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas and Yann Le Guernigou, Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Alison Williams)