"Frankfurt is a village, Milan is a fad, Paris is the new London"
As a managing director at an investment bank in Europe, I have been around. My career has taken me across the continent and has now landed me in Paris, with a leading international bank. Right now, I think this is the best place to be.
Post-Brexit, European banking is returning to a local model. For years, London was the central hub but this is now changing. And Paris is winning in the transition.
Paris is the only European financial city other than London that has scale. I have lived and worked in Frankfurt and Frankfurt is a village by comparison. Paris is an international city. It is attractive and it is well-located: it has easy transport links to London, to Frankfurt and to Milan. For all these reasons, Paris is taking over from London as the European hub.
Why not Frankfurt? Frankfurt is fine if you are German. If you're a German banker you'd probably be very happy to have your career there, but it's a village compared to Paris or London. Frankfurt is the banking centre for German-speaking countries, but Frankfurt offices are branch offices.
Frankfurt is also a Messe town with frequent large international conventions, which is fine if you like to be surrounded by people in ill-fitting suits. If this is tolerable, Frankfurt has its upsides: you can work in Frankfurt and live in one of the handsome towns nearby, for example near the Taunus mountains. I enjoyed my time there and made good friends, but for banking careers Frankfurt is nothing compared to London, and to Paris.
People also talk a lot about Milan now. But in my opinion, Milan is a fad. Any growth there is simply derived from their aggressive tax deal.
Paris has all the upsides. It is developing critical mass, and it has favourable tax treatment for expats. I am expecting to stay here a long time.
Sebastian Naslund is a pseudonym
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