PARIS Jan 16 France's financial sector should
use the impending spin-off of stock market group Euronext as an
opportunity to enhance Paris' status a financial centre and
boost the economy, the governor of the Bank of France said on
French regulators have for months been pushing banks and
insurers behind the scenes to take a large stake in Euronext,
which is due to be spun off in a 1 to 1.5 billion-euro
($1.4-$2.0 billion) listing following the merger of ICE
"To meet the appropriate aim of financing the economy ... I
can only encourage the (French) financial sector to seize
opportunities to boost its financial infrastructure," said
Noyer, who is also a member of the European Central Bank's
governing council, in a speech to the industry.
"I'm thinking in particular about the sale of Euronext,
which opens the way for it to be taken over by long-term
The financial institutions in question, which include BNP
Paribas and Societe Generale, are
unenthusiastic about such a plan, bankers have told Reuters,
citing frustrations over France's tax on financial transactions
and the prospect that the eurozone will also impose one.
Earlier on Thursday, SocGen Deputy Chief Executive Severin
Cabannes said it was too early to take a position.
Although he said that France's financial sector was open to
a "European solution" to the Euronext question, he stressed that
the competitiveness of the French market was the number-one
The purchase of a stake in Euronext was not on the list of
recommendations issued by French finance lobby Europlace on
Thursday to put Paris back on the map after years of losing
ground to London, Singapore and other global financial hubs.
But the lobby did say that France should create its own
clearing-house for transactions, at a time when derivatives are
set to move increasingly onto regulated exchanges from
over-the-counter trades. It also called for a lighter tax load
"Most over-the-counter derivatives will end up as listed, so
a clearing-house may make sense," Yannick Naud, portfolio
manager at Sturgeon Capital, said. But he said that making Paris
more attractive as a financial centre would need more measures
and more time.