after Brexit, the City of London affected but not sunk

It was still time to wear masks on June 29, 2021: black for Emmanuel Macron, red for Jamie Dimon, the boss of JPMorgan. Place du Marché-Saint-Honoré, the two men officially inaugurate the new Parisian premises of the American bank, which has just extended its offices on Place Vendôme by connecting them to a new building.

Before Brexit, JPMorgan had 250 employees in the French capital. It now has 800. The inauguration of the new trading room by the President of the Republic in person was intended as a further demonstration of the red carpet rolled out by the French authorities to the world of finance in recent years.

But Paris is not the only beneficiary: JPMorgan has also strengthened its presence in Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Milan, Madrid, Stockholm and Dublin. Across the European Union (EU), it has doubled its workforce to 6,000 employees.

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A blow for the City? The truth is that the comparison with London remains for the moment in favor of the British capital. In its huge tower located in Canary Wharf, the eastern business district of the city, JPMorgan brings together… 10,000 employees. Across the UK, the total reaches 19,000 people. Three times more than on the mainland.

“Break your arm on purpose”

This example sums up the reality of the shock suffered by the City with the exit from the EU: real, but very far from threatening its enormous domination over European finance. “With this vote, it is as if London had chosen to break its arm, sighs William Wright, director of New Financial, a financial think tank. Normally, no one does this on purpose. But it is only an injury, which is not fatal. »

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It has been almost seven years since Brexit was passed, but only two years since it became a reality for businesses, when the UK officially left the European single market on 1er January 2021. On this day, the “financial passport”, which allowed the sale of financial products from London throughout the EU, was lost. The turning point was historic, but the pandemic initially made it difficult to assess the consequences.

Today, it becomes possible to draw an initial assessment. The consulting firm EY has added up all the public announcements of 222 financial companies, and arrives at the figure of… 7,000 outsourced jobs. By definition, this is an underestimate: nothing obliges companies to announce their relocations, and small companies are not part of the panel. “The reality is double or triple, at least”, believes Nicolas Mackel, lobbyist for the Luxembourg financial centre. Or maybe 5% of the City.

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