OK, this is possible

Christian Noyer, the former governor of the Bank of France, has been on a City charm offensive, trying to convince financial institutions to set up over the Channel, arguing that the French capital would be more attractive than post-Brexit Britain.

No, not that bit, this bit:

Mr Noyer’s presentation concedes France is not as attractive as the UK for tax, but focuses on its relative merits compared with Belgium and Germany.

That’s possible of course, but claiming that a place is only 193 rd on the list of WTO nations is not really all that persuasive really.

17 comments on “OK, this is possible

  1. Places like the Netherlands seem to have the right idea on how to attract foreign expertise, despite having excessive levels of taxation.

    If you are a foreign national coming to the Netherlands for work, but you retain a house and family in a foreign country, you essentially pay a maximum tax rate of 36.4% for the first 7 years (if I recall correctly), after which you are deemed resident.

    If France were to institute something similar to the Dutch approach then they might get a more sympathetic hearing from the occupants of the City and Docklands, since many of them would quite fancy a stint working in Paris.

    The French are great at acting against their own best interests though, so I expect their economic malaise to continue until they are bankrupt.

    Oh dear. How sad. Never mind.

  2. John Galt: You over-estimate the French.

    And why would money-men and their families want to spend a few years in an open air rapefugee camp with such tourist delights as watching RoP fanatics trying to throw Dulux “green grape” all over the great works of Western art?

  3. John Galt: You over-estimate the French.

    Not really, because what they should do they are unable / unwilling to do because they are bloody French, or more correctly the parasitical elite in Paris, most of the French outside Paris would happily gas the place (to preserve the cultural heritage, but get rid of the infestation of human cockroaches)

    I expect lots of vindictiveness from the French during the BRExit negotiations with lots of French ‘non’ to perfectly sensible British proposals, so basically let them go to hell in a handbasket.

    As Macmillian said after the negotiations to join the EEC in the 1960’s was rejected by DeGaulle:

    The French always betray you in the end.

    Fuck ’em.

  4. I’ve always felt that if you have to offer preferential tax rates to attract companies or people it’s an admission that your tax rates are too high.

  5. but focuses on its relative merits compared with Belgium and Germany.

    Terrific, but they aren’t thinking of moving the Belgium or Germany either.

    Why would banks move within a jurisdiction which has been threatening to fuck them over with a transaction tax and worse for years, and whose senior employees (and hence decision makers) would be crucified with personal taxes?

  6. As an occasional denizen of the City of London (when nicer places to work aren’t available), I’ve heard the bullshit about “we’ll all be working in Frankfurt in 10-years” or similar bullshit since I first worked in banking for the Moscow Narodny Bank at No.1 Poultry working on Y2K compliance (utter bullshit, but good money).

    Why does it never happen? Because who the hell wants to live and work in Frankfurt when they can do the same business in a city like London and keep more of what they earn rather than it being frittered away on Greek pensions.

    Even if the tax rates were equalised, the difference in scale between places like Frankfurt, Belgium, Luxembourg and Paris versus London are still massive. It is like comparing a fish pond to the ocean. London is something like 10 times the size of Frankfurt and has much more going for it.

    The Germans tried to make Frankfurt the home of the Eurobond market and had visions of vast swathes of bankers and other finance professionals decamping from London and moving to Frankfurt. Guess what happened? Electronic trading from London happened, so that nothing really changed.

    The dreams of a resurgence of the French banking sector caused by BRExit is just a pipe dream.

  7. I though all the bankers left to go to Zurich in 2007/8 because we were being beastly to them and taxing there mortgages?

    If the Swiss can’t attract them there’s no hope for Paris or Frankfurt.

  8. If you are rich, and move somewhere* it is possible (even likely) that a future govt will seize your assets on a whim, you deserve to lose it all.

    * France.

  9. I though all the bankers left to go to Zurich in 2007/8 because we were being beastly to them and taxing there mortgages?

    I think it was the introduction of the UK’s 50% tax rate that was a motivator at that time rather than anything to do with preferential mortgages.

    The problem with places like Zurich and Geneva is that the income tax rates aren’t that much different and when you also add in the higher cost of living, non-English speaking community and not much nightlife it loses its appeal.

  10. “I though all the bankers left to go to Zurich in 2007/8 because we were being beastly to them and taxing there mortgages?”

    I’m not doing well this morning (heavy night last night).

    That should be “taxing their bonuses”!

  11. And where will all the staff with the necessary skills come from in Paris, Are there hundreds and thousands of potential bank staff sitting around?

    Will British staff be lured to Paris? Big upheaval for family, expensive housing, high tax, chronic traffic problems… and Parisians – even the French don’t like those.

  12. London is something like 10 times the size of Frankfurt and has much more going for it.

    Indeed. I’ve read that there are more people working in financial services in London than live in the whole of Frankfurt. The idea that they will decamp en masse is ludicrous.

    Anyway, if ‘passporting’ is such a magical thing and eliminates all barriers to financial services within the EU, surely you’d relocate to somewhere cheap, like Riga or Ljubljana?

  13. Likely beneficiaries of Brexit:
    1) New York
    2) Dublin
    3) Frankfurt (because the Germans will force Euro clearing back to Germany)
    4) Luxembourg
    5) Amsterdam
    6) Paris

    Interestingly Paris has a lot of fund managers. Nowhere near as many as London, but a lot.

    Who seriously compares themselves to Belgium? The competition is Dublin, NYC, Lux, Amsterdam ffs.

  14. If France were to institute something similar to the Dutch approach…

    They do. I’m an “impatriate” and pay a lower rate of tax, and don’t pay tax on things like company provided housing. I can keep this up for 6 years I think.

  15. Anyway, it’s not tax that kills French businesses but the endless regulations. God knows how many busybody groups they need to set up and pay for, or liaise with.

  16. TimN,

    I met someone who did a lot of business in France who claimed that you are always breaking the law, the only issue is which one. Probably a stretch but it made the point.

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