JPMorgan Chase & Co, the world’s most valuable bank by market capitalisation, has become the latest bank attracted to the French capital, where it plans to relocate hundreds of staff following Britain’s retreat from the European Union.
The bank, the world’s sixth-largest by assets, is planning to buy a building in central Paris to house up to 450 staff. It currently has 260 staff in the city, but the move will make the French capital its second-largest European base.
While the bank has approximately 10,000 staff in London, it is looking to initially transfer sales teams, followed by trading staff, depending on the Brexit timetable, Kyril Courboin, CEO at JPMorgan France, told Reuters.
“London will still be number one because we are only transferring euro activities,” he said.
That reflects a wider trend of banks shifting selected activities to eurozone cities in the run-up to Brexit, without calling into question London’s dominance as Europe’s premier financial centre.
Bank of America is expected to move up to 400 jobs in its markets, trading and sales teams to Paris and other European centres this year. Its Dublin base will become the bank’s main EU headquarters.
Barclays, while keeping most of its operations in London, has announced plans to shift up to 200 roles to EU cities, also employed through its Irish office.
Citigroup, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse have all said they would move hundreds of jobs to EU hubs such as Madrid, Frankfurt and Luxembourg.
An acceleration in the Brexit process, with Britain now due to leave the EU on January 31 and negotiate a new relationship with the bloc during the rest of 2020, had prompted JPMorgan to go ahead with relocation plans, Courboin said.
Political reforms to labour law and the fiscal environment had encouraged it to favour France, he added.
The building purchase was announced on Sunday as part of the “Choose France” drive, an annual investment event created by President Emmanuel Macron to draw business leaders to France on their way to the World Economic Forum in the Alpine Davos resort each January.
The French presidency also unveiled agreements with shipping firm MSC, which will have two cruise ships built in France, guaranteeing 2,400 jobs for at least three years, and drug manufacturer AstraZeneca, which will invest $500m over five years.