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US banks are expanding in Paris. This could cause problems.

"I am French and I would only work for a US bank in Paris"

American banks are expanding in Paris. After we reported last week that Citi had been spied hiring traders in Paris, Financial News reported yesterday that the US bank is recruiting 60 juniors for its Paris trading business and adding 250 people in Paris in total. 

Coming on the back of similar expansions at Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, Citi's plans are popular among young French bankers and traders 

"I am French and I would not work for a French bank," says one investment banking analyst at Bank of America. "The money and the culture are worse. The culture in a French bank is too French: it's not diverse, there's an old-school French hierarchy and they don't like remote work."

People happily ensconced in French banks might disagree. While Rothschild and Lazard have a reputation for working junior investment bankers long hours in Paris, SocGen and BNP are known for being more lenient. 

What isn't disputed, however, is that many of the French banks (excluding Rothschild and Lazard) pay less than the Americans. Insiders say US banks in Paris pay between €130k for an analyst 1 to €350k for a senior associate, by comparison most French banks pay anything from 20% to 30% less. 

Claude Calmon, a headhunter in the French capital, says junior banker salaries in France have increased along with the rest of the world. Tier one banks now pay €80k salaries and 100% bonuses, said Calmon. This is up from €60k before COVID. 

Calmon says demand is expanding for traders, portfolio managers and quants in Paris. However, both bankers and rival headhunters say demand for investment bankers is waning and that many US banks have hiring freezes. 

Another headhunter says most of the growth in Paris jobs is the result of jobs moving to Paris from Frankfurt, not from London. Citi initially chose Frankfurt as its sales and trading hub; this week's news suggests it might be having second thoughts. 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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