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My warning to any London bankers thinking of moving to Paris

So, Bank of America is trying to persuade London staff to move to its new office in Paris. Doubtful London bankers are being sold the story that France has fine wines, mountains, beaches, famous chefs and amazing restaurants. As a French banker who left my home country over two decades ago, I'd seriously caution against believing any of it.

Personally, I have a huge allergy to Paris and a corresponding allergy to France. After living on a different continent for years, I have no intention of going back. Not even my ashes will be sprinkled in France. I am done with the country.

Why? Firstly, and mostly, taxes. When I lived in Paris 80% of every $100 I earned went to the tax man. Where I live now, 20% does. France is, first and foremost, a country with a communist attitude.

"What about Macron?," I hear you shout. After all, isn't he supposed to be personally persuading banks to move to Paris with his can-do attitude? Well, yes, but are you seriously that short-sighted? Remember that Macron is an investment banker by trade. And as an investment banker, he is a master of bait and switch. Anyone earning over €1m now who thinks they can move to Paris and be taxed less than they are in London in ten years time is deluding themselves: Macron's tax cuts won't last. The French government deficit is only just below the European Union's 3% ceiling and support for Macron is already fading. In a place like France, a president like Macron is not sustainable in the long term. It doesn't help that he's easily portrayed as a banking egomaniac who's out of touch with the real world. 

So, I'm not sure Macron will last much beyond the 2022 elections. And then or soon after, the taxes will be back with a vengeance. I don't have anything against taxes, but I do object to moral hazard - France is a country where people have been told for a long time that someone else will pay for them. Many French people are not used to the idea that they will need to contribute themselves. The concept in France is simple: "The rich will pay."

If you are a high earner in France, you should not expect any thanks for this. In my experience, the French are also innately resentful of people who have money. This is a huge difference to continents like Asia, where wealth generation is respected. Even 20 years ago, when I was living in the XVI arrondissement in Paris, someone scratched my BMW with keys because they were jealous of a "rich guy." When I go back now for holidays I can taste the suspicion: I always lock my doors at traffic lights. I don't feel safe; it's not like this elsewhere in the world.

So what do you do? The alternatives aren't great, although I'd say Frankfurt is a better bet. If you can go to Spain, you'll have a better quality of life. If you can go to Benelux, you'll be fine but you might die of boredom. The truth of the matter, is that you should have been thinking about this before my friend. If you've left it this late to work out your future, maybe you deserve to go to Paris after all. Good luck to you.

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AUTHORPhilip Ersatz Insider Comment
  • Do
    Doomne Zau
    5 December 2018

    Unfortunatelly the reality is worse than that. France as all Old Continent has outdated mentalities, vision and motivation. All we see today with gillets jeunes it's the best example.
    All that mentality was ok a century ago, now with all new players in the global scene ... Europe is fucked ... propper fucked. And it's Neanderthals occupants are only to blame.

  • MM
    17 October 2018

    the reality, is, very few 'bankers' will move to Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin or Ibiza, even less want to move, but some will have to move, even if temporarily for regulatory reasons, if the EU is so shortsighted it will not agree a deal that keeps the City onside. The last thing Europe needs is a fragmenting of its financial services, which will make them inefficient and more expensive, better leave it all as it is working nicely centred on London, or else you might find Europe loses the business altogether and people will go direct to NY, HK or TKO for the services, which technology makes possible - which is another reason to keep London onside, it is by far the world's leading centre for Fintech, and this is growing rapidly..the EU do not want to miss this...but the EU seems very happy to shoot itself in the foot all the time. Worse case scenario is that London and wider UK absolutely booms when free from the shackles of EU draconian regulation...supposed to be a trade bloc and also friendly to its immediate neighbours...Drunker, Tusk, Barnier, Macron and Merkel all acting like school bullies. I for one hope the EU's spiteful actions come back to hurt them badly, and then the EU can sort out it's internal problems, like finding jobs for the millions of unemployed young people wondering why Germany does so well but around the Med there is no hope...

  • Jo
    14 October 2018

    You can hide in any taxhaven you want and find a way to contribute as little as possible... but soon Europe will be a mess after the extreme right-wing parties take over everywhere. That’s what happen when the tax policy is unfair for the underclass like in the states, England or Brazil.
    People like you make way too much money and that’s also why you should get taxed higher than 20%.

  • Th
    5 October 2018

    if brexit is a success.. the UK can become richer than france, even it’s going to be difficult. But i am sure that a lot of german french and dutch companies will soon move to the UK. I visited berlin and frankfurt last month and it’s a shythole. There were migrants everywhere in the streets. I didnt feel safe. London is 1000 times better than frankfurt and berlin.

  • Fr
    3 October 2018


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