Emmanuel Macron has failed to steal London’s financial crown for Paris

But Paris has its disadvantages too. Insiders at banks that have opened new EU hubs in the city because of Brexit admit that there has been “lots of reticence” from those told they have to relocate. 

The selling point for many banks is how well connected Paris is to London, meaning bankers forced to move can get the train back on weekends if their families choose to stay. One executive who has relocated says he has struggled to make friends and now wants to go back, while a senior investor who visits Paris often for work meetings says he would not want to live there because he finds it unwelcoming to those not fluent in French. 

While many will disagree and find themselves completely seduced by the city, it has become evident that bringing London to Paris after Brexit is far from easy. The Square Mile might be bruised by Brexit, but it has not lost its glory. More bankers have stayed in London than previously expected, with data from EY last week showing that the number of Brexit-related job moves from the UK to other parts of Europe since the 2016 referendum now stands at just over 7,000 – a fraction of estimates made after the vote. 

London remains Europe’s dominant financial centre based on factors such as (relative) political stability, labour market flexibility, quality of life, infrastructure and innovation, a ranking by think tank Z/Yen Group found last week. It was ranked second only to New York globally, while Paris came in at 11th place.

There is still time for Paris to chip away at London’s financial status, but further obstacles are ahead. France’s battle to become Europe’s financial centre faces imminent challenges as the race to be France’s next president tightens and opponents from both the far-Right and far-Left see a rise in support in the polls. 

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