May 25, 2018 / 1:04 PM / a month ago

French central banker sees Paris emerging as a post-Brexit markets hub

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.

FILE PHOTO: General view of the skyline of La Defense business district behind Paris landmark the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysees Avenue, France, January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

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.

FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau in Berlin, Germany, September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

Reporting by Leigh Thomas and Yann Le Guernigou, Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Alison Williams

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