PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) could move 400 corporate and investment banking jobs from London as part of its Brexit plans, with most of them going to Paris, Chief Executive Frederic Oudea said.
“At this stage, it seems quite clear that it will be necessary to relocate a certain number of jobs to the euro zone,” Oudea told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Paris, attended by French prime minister Edouard Philippe and banking executives from JP Morgan (JPM.N), HSBC (HSBA.L), BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA) and Amundi (AMUN.PA).
Oudea said the possible move of jobs after Brexit would affect 300-400 investment banking jobs out of 2,000 it has overall for that business in London.
The new French government has stepped up efforts to attract London banks to Paris after Brexit, pledging to cut labor costs and ensure they do not face tougher regulations than European rivals.
It also aims to transform the French capital into Europe’s new top financial center, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday.
“In this scenario, in the light of the decisions taken by the government, we will concentrate the relocations in France,” added Oudea.
President Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker, has a hard task to convince the investment community that France does not see the financial sector as an “enemy” – a phrase once used by former socialist President Francois Hollande.
“We look at the decisions that mark a very clear change in the position,” Oudea said.
“When the government says…it considers it (finance) is the important economic sector, a sector of excellence for France, and that this government wants to encourage finance”.
French banks have said that Brexit was not a big issue for them, given that they have Paris trading hubs and all the necessary licenses to operate in the region.
BNP Paribas may move up to 300 London investment bank staff due to Britain’s exit from the European Union, depending on how clients adapt and on the French bank’s efforts to win new British business, a source told Reuters in May.
Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta/Keith Weir