Financial Technology (Fintech) is one of France’s priority growth sectors. However, whilst highly optimistic about President Macron’s commitment to the further development of the sector, start ups, including those with French ties, appear reluctant to relocate from London to Paris.
Fintech is considered by governments and business alike as being crucial to the future of financial services and of vital importance, therefore, to economic growth.
Britain says Fintech contributes £6.91 billion to the economy, providing 60,000 jobs: however since last June’s vote to leave the European Union, other countries, notably France, have been positioning themselves replace London as the sector’s main European hub.
France, with its huge financial sector, is home to four of Europe’s top ten European banks, as measured by global assets, and has a robust fund management industry, one of the biggest in the world.
However, a recent Deloitte study ranked Paris just 29th among global Fintech hubs, and only seventh in Europe, thanks to a lack of investment, rigid labour laws and a reputation for being less international than other cities.
“What I love about London is it’s so international,” said Nikolay Storonsky, the Russian CEO of London-based foreign payments app Revolut. “Paris is not international at all.”
France’s Fintech sector raised less than a tenth of the venture capital raised by Britain in 2016 - $68 million compared with $783 million, according to Deloitte.
“We have the world’s greatest financial centre and one of the biggest tech hubs in one global city – factors that cannot be replicated in Paris or anywhere else in Europe,” London’s deputy mayor for business and enterprise, Rajesh Agrawal, told Reuters.
President Emmanuel Macron, himself a former investment banker, has pledged 10 billion euros to an innovation fund to help turn France into a “startup nation”. However, whilst Britain’s regulators have led the way in allowing startups to test out ideas in the real market, under supervision, with a so-called “regulatory sandbox”, a system that many countries have copied, France has yet to follow suit.
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