The Bank of France’s governor has said that Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has driven almost 2,500 jobs and “at least €170bn in assets” to France.
London remains the continent’s foremost financial centre but Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris have all scrambled to attract businesses that wanted to remain active in the 19-nation eurozone.
The coronavirus pandemic made it even more important to boost business activity, given its severe economic effects.
“In spite of the pandemic, almost 2,500 jobs have already been transferred and around 50 British entities have authorised the relocation of at least €170bn (£150bn) in assets to France at the end of 2020,” bank governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau told a press briefing.
“Other relocations are expected and should increase over the course of this year,” he added.
In particular, Brexit has forced Europe to develop its financial autonomy, de Galhau said.
The EU will allow London clearinghouses to operate across the continent for 18 months, because the union does not have comparable institutions of its own.
Once that deadline has expired, however, financial transactions in euros are in theory going to have to be settled within the EU.
In addition, “a true ‘financing union’ must allow us to better mobilise surplus savings de Galhau said.
He urged that the opportunity provided by Brexit be used to create a functional “union of capital markets” in the EU.
Boris Johnson admitted in December that the Brexit deal with the EU “does not go as far as we would like” in allowing access to EU markets for financial services, although UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak, later offered the prospect of improved access.