France to hold U.S. roadshows to attract business to Paris post-Brexit

A general view shows the buildings of the financial district of La Defense near Paris, France, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Top French financiers will travel to the United States in May to try to attract U.S business to Paris following Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.

Paris Europlace - an organisation representing French business and finance - said in its March newsletter published on Thursday that it would hold roadshows in Boston and New York on May 22 and 23 aimed at persuading U.S. finance companies to choose Paris as their European base.

The organisation said it had already held about 100 meetings with executives of large international banks as well as asset management, investment, insurance and fintech companies in London, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo and these had shown a “clear interest” in Paris.

Both France and Germany have stepped up efforts to try to replace London’s traditional role as Europe’s main centre of business, following Britain’s vote for Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May formally began Britain’s divorce from the EU on Wednesday, declaring there was no turning back and opening a tortuous exit process that will test the bloc’s cohesion and pitch her country into the unknown.

French officials have already held events in London this year to try to lure financial jobs over to Paris, in the wake of the Brexit vote.

HSBC HSBA.L, Europe's biggest bank, has said it could move a part of its operations to Paris, while the French capital's standing in the technology sector was also boosted by Facebook's FB.O decision this year to open its first ever start-up incubator in the city.

Paris’ status as a major world city and capital of fashion and culture work in its favour, although analysts say France’s strict labour laws could put off employers.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Adrian Croft