Post-Brexit, Paris Takes The Title Of Global Hub For EU’s FinTechs

FinTech, News | April 5, 2019 By:

It’s been nearly three years since the UK voted to leave the EU, mere days since the country was supposed to leave, and we are yet to fully understand what Brexit is going to look like.

In London – arguably one of the world’s largest FinTech hubs – the domino effect has left many businesses in uncertain waters: regulatory concerns loom with border trade relationships up in flux.

But just across the Channel, Paris is fast becoming a crypto-friendly and finance forward hub, making itself the best option for EU and UK FinTechs looking for a new home.

The French government just passed the PACTE law – which includes flexible compliance measures so FinTechs dealing with utility tokens and digital assets can operate within a framework that suits them and their growth strategy.

The following notable FinTech thought leaders in Paris weigh in on why the city’s FinTech scene is set to flourish post-Brexit:

Karim Sabba, Co-Founder of Woorton & Paris Blockchain Week on:

A message for FinTech startups on why Paris is the perfect place to base themselves:

“French banks such as BNP Paribas and Société Générale are acquiring FinTechs and investing in innovation managers in order to draw ideas for innovation from FinTechs. The insurtech side is also very active, with Shift Technology, the creator of a fraud-detection platform for the insurance industry, raising in a $60 million Series C in March 2019.”

“In France we have a strong entrepreneurial culture. France is the European champion in business creation, racing in front of Germany and Great Britain. It is relatively easy to create a startup in France, thanks to a combination of a flexible regulatory environment, simplified statutory provisions (“auto-entreprises” and others), and tax deductions for investing in SMEs.”

“Paris embodies the best possible ecosystem for Fintechs!”

Franck Guiader, Head of Innovation & Fintech at Gide 255, on:

How Paris has been improving its Fintech ecosystem:

“Public bodies and private stakeholders have been working hand in hand in France to accelerate the development of Fintech businesses. The whole ecosystem is changing at an unprecedented pace, which gives room for concrete opportunities for foreign players willing to implement their brand in France, and to drive their European expansion through Paris.”

What the French Government is doing to support Fintech:

“A clear political steer provides FinTech companies with a comprehensive regulatory framework and legal certainty, which is crucial to the growth of their activities.”

“This willingness of the French Government finds its roots in several initiatives, like “the French Tech Visa” facilitating the obtainment of a resident permit for start-up founders and attracting new talents; or the current legislative work that has been initiated to simplify and clarify rules applying to some of the crypto players..”

What Paris has to offer Fintech startups:

“In the Brexit context, Paris is becoming the main entrance door to the EU Single market. Behind this door, there is not an empty shell, but a fertile ground made up of welcoming regulators, diverse sources of financing, state-of-the-art research in advanced technologies, and high level of technical capabilities.”

“France is clearly ahead of its EU counterparts in terms of regulatory thinking as demonstrated by the PACTE Bill and other ongoing initiatives. Developing a FinTech business in France could translate into a real competitive advantage, at a time where EU institutions are questioning the need for a common regulatory framework for alternative finance.”

Jimmy Zou, Partner at PwC France on:

What Brexit will mean for FinTech development in Europe:

“A hard Brexit could mean the loss of the precious European passport for FinTechs located in the UK. If this is the case, companies wishing to operate in the EU will have two possibilities: to relocate, and/or to apply for European licences. Both these processes may be time-consuming and expensive, and should contribute to spreading existing FinTechs to other European capitals such as Dublin, Paris, Brussels, or Frankfurt.”

“Any economic uncertainty arising from Brexit will necessarily cause uneasiness with investors. And should immigration rules remain unclarified in a no-deal Brexit scenario, the recruitment of European talent may be made harder. This may, in the long run, cause a gradual transition of FinTechs towards European cities.”

Pauline Adam-Kalfon, Partner Financial Services at PwC France, on:

Where startups affected by Brexit should be looking to relocate:

“A choice destination would be France, with an economy just as large and diverse as its UK counterpart, and plus it has no immediate plans to leave the EU! With more than 350 FinTechs, Paris is known for its ability to accommodate InsurTechs, RegTechs and neobanks.”

“France is the country of both Vivatech and the Paris FinTech Forum, attended annually by hundreds of FinTechs. In addition, Paris offers a wide range of opportunity not only in terms of accompaniment as incubators (not least StationF, the biggest startup campus in the world) and accelerators, but also in terms of the many investors and business angels present in Paris. Five out of the 15 European banks are French, and the biggest one – HSBC has decided to have France as its European hub.”