The French President will declare that Paris is back on the map of global finance on Tuesday when he inaugurates JPMorgan’s new trading hub in the French capital which he hopes will attract more bankers leaving post-Brexit Britain.
The US bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, will be one of almost 120 international CEOs travelling to Versailles on Monday for Macron’s now traditional “Choose France” summit in which he pitches France as an investment destination.
The day after, Mr Dimon and President Macron will visit JPMorgan’s new hub in central Paris, a stone’s throw away from the Louvre museum, where about 440 employees will be based, many having relocated from London.
The French President’s advisers say that is testament to the appeal of France’s pro-business reforms implemented since the former investment banker’s election in 2017.
Global banks like JPMorgan have long used London as their EU gateway, but with Brexit largely severing Britain from the bloc’s financial market, banks have spent millions of dollars on hubs in Paris, Frankfurt and elsewhere in the bloc to avoid disruption.
Mr Dimon told shareholders in a letter this year: “We may reach a tipping point many years out when it may make sense to move all functions that service Europe out of the United Kingdom and into continental Europe.”
An advisor to Mr Macron told reporters: “London had everything.
“Our ambition is for Paris to have everything too.”
Despite the enthusiasm of both the French President and the financial tycoon, earlier this month, German daily Wort reported that JPMorgan asked a team of around 15 London-based equity derivatives traders to move to Paris but almost half of them decided to quit and others asked not to be moved.
Other international investment banks have been facing similar problems, according to informed sources. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Nomura Holdings Inc. have reportedly had a hard time convincing some traders to leave London.
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Stephane Rambosson, co-founder of London-based recruitment agency Vici Advisory said: “I have some cases of people moving to the continent and they are really not happy.”
The European Union insists that more assets, people and businesses will have to move out of the City of London in the coming years.
Global banks must meet the competing demands of regulators as well as their own business needs without alienating employees they want to transfer.
The new French boss of Morgan Stanley told the French daily Les Echos in April the size of the Paris office would double in the next two and a half years to around 300 employees.
Deutsche Bank AG recently decided to move around 100 jobs in its corporate banking division from London to lower-cost locations such as Frankfurt and Dublin.
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Employees can move with their workplaces, but they have to accept a cut in salary.
Moves to Frankfurt are particularly difficult to sell, reports the Bloomberg news agency after interviews with several bankers and executives.
Some Nomura traders had expressed the wish to move to Milan or Paris instead.
Employees with school-age children are particularly reluctant to move.
Other concerns include career opportunities, pay and the smaller size of financial centres other than London.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has launched a probe into each bank’s risk management setup in the EU in an effort to ramp up the pressure.
London is likely to remain Europe’s largest financial hub, but European rivals want to use Brexit to help bolster their own operations.
Morgan Stanley has revealed its Paris office is expected to double in size over the next two and a half years to about 300 people.
UK politicians and regulators have long feared their European counterparts are attempting to poach as much financial services business as possible under the guise of repatriating oversight of all euro-based trade.