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July 10, 2018

BlackRock, Citi plan Paris expansion in Brexit plan

BlackRock and Citigroup are planning to expand their presence in Paris in preparation for Britain’s exit from the European Union in March 2019.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the move is the result of French president Emmanuel Macron’s promises to cut tax rate for financial services firms operating in France.

American asset manager Blackrock recently applied to the French financial markets regulator for authorisation to launch an alternative investment fund management company in the country.

The license, anticipated in September, would allow the firm to sell hedge funds, real estate and commodities funds to the global market from Paris, the report said.

The fund manager employs around 50 people in the country and oversees nearly €30bn in assets on behalf of French clients.

Last month, the firm appointed Henri Chabadel as its CIO for France, Belgium and London. Chabadel will be based in Paris.

However, Blackrock plans to retain its main European office in London, with no relocations expected to take place from this office. The Paris office will comprise new hires, the report said.

Meanwhile Citi hired Gregoire Haemmerle as head of its French corporate and investment banking unit and Pierre Drevillon as head of French M&A. The pair join from UBS.

The US-based bank currently has a headcount of around 160 people in Paris. It plans to recruit 150 sales and trading jobs in Frankfurt and 100 more, mostly in Paris.

Citi chairman of corporate and investment banking in continental Europe Luigi de Vecchi was quoted by the report as saying: “The effect of Macron has lightened up the country – before his election it was pretty bleak. As you talk to French CEOs, they are all pumped up with tons of cash and aggressive plans.”

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