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“I’ve never met a trader who left London for Paris who was happy to be back”

Businessman outdoors with cellular phone by Eiffel Tower

Investment banks in the City are currently trying to sell Brexit as an opportunity to return home, but as a French FX and commodities trader currently based in London who spent a significant period of time in La Défense, my advice to you is to think very carefully before putting your hand up.

If your personal circumstances – kids, school fees, mortgages, an itch to see your family more – are pushing you back home, then great. But during all the years I spent in Paris, I never met anyone who had worked successfully in an investment bank in the City of London, who was happy to be back. Never. If you’ve succeeded in London, Paris is a nothing. The only people who enjoy going home are the ones who’ve failed in the City.

Brexit might have changed the game, but London is in a different league to Paris and it’s hardly going to disappear overnight. Paris has been, in my experience, a warm comfort blanket to wrap around yourself at the tail end of your career. Most who returned from London were in semi-retirement and looking for an easier life.

London is still the world’s leading financial centre. This means that the opportunities on offer to trader, investment banker or anyone else with aspirations to work in the financial sector are huge. Inevitably, not only are the actual jobs superior to those on offer in Paris, but the exit options and career opportunities far outstrip those on the Continent. It’s a great melting pot of skills, nationalities and cultures that leads to extraordinary possibilities. This also means that it’s incredibly competitive and hard, and not everyone can handle working here.

I would be surprised if there were a sudden influx of French bankers keen to move back to Paris. To do so still signifies a lack of ambition. Paris might be talking a good game, but right not it really cannot compete with London – Brexit or not.

Pierre Dubois, a pseudonym, is a executive director working in a large U.S. investment bank in London

Contact for news, tips and comments: pclarke@efinancialcareers.com

Image: Getty Images

Comments (6)

  1. ridiculous, there are millions of reasons not to go back to London especially if you have a family, kids and so on
    retirement age, health care (UK is a 3rd world country really), social benefits, school fees, food, real estate cost, etc.

  2. c’est nul cet article franchement. les arguments sont d’une pauvreté affligeante

  3. Total NONSENSE. I am 29. I was working as a trader in London. I left London for Paris for much greater opportuinities, a better standard of living, a much better nightlife with incredible electronic/techno/house clubs all around the capital, much better restaurants and people. A incredible city with so many things to do compared to London.
    With the fall of the pound, incomes are much higher in Paris than in London for the same job. Also, and it is one of the most important point, people never take into account…with no social/employer contributions for your public pension in London, when you retire, you are poor as hell. I checked my payslip, I cost 34 000 euros a month in Paris to my employer, I get 16 000 euros net a month (with 0 income tax due to some Pinel investments). Most taxes are infact social/employer contributions in France for your public pension.
    I know I will get a public pension = 80% of my 10 best incomes in Paris…and only 9% if I stay in London according to those contributions….
    You need to earn 150% more in London than Paris to make sure it’s economically interesting!
    In London I earned 14 000 euros net = a little bit less seemingly but enormous in reality [(no contributions for your public pension, no contributions for free health care, no contribution for unemployment benefits, it is 6320 euros net a month for 2 years here in France for high incomes)]

    Same for my 3 other friends. They all left London for Paris and are so pleased now. They will never go to London again.
    Two of them were working as M&A Analyst for GSachs (They are 25 and 29)
    One was working as a trader with me. We all have a better income right now!

  4. the UK, the land of the mindless spin. The Brits would try to convince you that the Earth is flat if it fits their PR objectives. and if not happy, attack the person.
    Those europeans, so elitist, they’ve got the nerves to think about the bottom line and break our dreams !

  5. I beg to disagree. I have worked in Turin, then 9 years in Paris, 11 years in London and now moving to Milan. You fail if you do not see where you are going to be most useful for your company or your career, not if for any reason uou leave London.
    In the delicate art of balancing professional and personal life, location should not be a constraint but an opportunity.
    In the digital world your physical presence is required only in very specific cases and those should be the reasons for your choice of location, not some stereotype that many would still like to promote to save UK from the madness of a self inflicted Brexit.

  6. I agree, Paris as a place to do business and thrive in finance career has just too many limitations, internationally insignificant, lack of real talents, pretentious workers, unreliable and insufficient infrastructure, different language and little english options, rigid labor laws even with the latest reforms, higher and more complex taxation, ridiculous commute times just to name a few. As a local hub it´s ok if you can deal with all the inconvenients, as international or european place is not a good option unless the french culture and french society is your priority, if business and career is priority London or other cities in the continent are much more suitable

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