Brexit: Paris stock exchange to ‘assert its strength’

Gérard Mestrallet is the president of the organisation Paris Europlace. [MEDEF/Flickr]

The Paris stock exchange plans to “assert its strength” to attract international businesses, taking advantage of the potential damage Brexit could do to the City of London, French sources said on Monday (30 May).

“Less than a month from the British referendum, we have to prepare for any scenario,” Gérard Mestrallet, the president of the organisation Paris Europlace, said at a joint press conference held after a meeting of the Paris stock exchange committee, with the French Minister of Finance Michel Sapin and the Governor of the Bank of France François Villeroy de Galhau.

“Whatever the result [of their referendum], the Paris stock exchange hopes to assert its strength to attract international businesses that want to develop their activities in Europe,” he added.

“We want Paris to become the leader for the market financing of businesses,” he said.

The upcoming Brexit referendum has raised uncertainty about the future of Europe’s dominant stock market, the City of London. But Sapin “unambiguously” reiterated the position of the French government on the issue, namely that he hoped his “British friends would stay in the EU”.

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“But whatever the outcome of the vote, it is important for our committee to examine the Paris stock exchange’s strategy,” Sapin added.

The minister hopes to make Paris the “leading stock exchange of the eurozone” for “so-called intelligent” market financing. This includes green finance, socially responsible investments and financing for infrastructure projects.

“They should all find suitable and economical financing in Paris,” he said.

Another pillar of Sapin’s plan for is to make Paris a hub for innovative Fintech (financial technology) companies. He hopes to develop “technological initiatives by talking to these newcomers and actively identifying any possibly unjustified regulatory limitations”.

Finally, the French finance minister wants to make the Parisian financial hub “provide companies and financial intermediaries with the best possible market infrastructure and support”.

The United Kingdom will vote on its continued EU membership on Thursday 23 June.

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