Market: The attraction of London bankers to Paris increases the balance of payments

PARIS (Reuters) – The attraction of London bankers to France after Brexit has exceeded expectations and is increasingly appearing in the balance of payments, Banque de France said on Thursday.

After the 2016 UK referendum that resulted in Britain leaving the EU, the French government struggled to get international banks to move their European operations from the City of London to Paris, despite competition from other financial centers such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Dublin.

These efforts have borne fruit as a number of Wall Street giants, such as Bank of America and JPMorgan, have turned to the French capital to establish their centers of market operations in Europe.

“The success of Paris after Brexit is spectacular, it has accelerated over the recent period and exceeds our expectations,” Banque de France Governor François Villeroy de Galhau said during the presentation of an annual report on France’s balance of payments.

“We still have a number of meetings with international companies that have not escaped this success,” he added.

The trend is even evident in balance of payments data, with financial firms moved from London to Paris contributing 1.5 billion euros to France’s financial surplus last year, the central bank said.

Transactions by French-based financial services firms with the rest of the world hit a record 10.4 billion euros in 2022 – double what they were at the time of the Brexit vote in 2016 – boosted by a sharp rise in securities and currency trading fees.

Financial services helped lift France’s overall service surplus to a record 1 billion. EUR, also boosted by strong revenues from tourism and the maritime sector, the latter benefiting from high freight rates and the fact that Marseille is home to the headquarters of maritime giant CMA CGM.

France nevertheless recorded a record current account deficit of 53.9 billion euros last year, or 2% of its gross domestic product, as the high cost of energy imports offset the surplus on services.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas, French version Kate Entringer)

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