Paris follows London in the ranks of financial investments abroad

Women enjoy the view of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre and the Eiffel Tower at Parc de Saint-Cloud near Paris, France, April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

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LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) – France caught up with Britain in attracting foreign direct investment in financial services last year, according to a study by accounting firm EY published on Monday.

Britain has still retained the top spot in the European rankings – attracting 63 projects in 2021 – but the gap to second-placed France has narrowed, with its neighbor recording 60, its highest number in the past decade.

Both countries attracted more projects in 2021 than the previous year – seven for Britain and 11 for France – bucking the contractionary trend in Europe as a whole.

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Foreign direct investment in financial services across Europe fell 2.8% overall last year, EY said.

London remained at the top of the city rankings, with 39 projects in 2021, but this represented less than half of the 86 projects listed in 2018. Paris recorded 38, only one project behind London.

Britain’s top spot showed it retained its appeal for international investors after Brexit, the EY researchers said, but they said France was catching up.

“France in particular is growing rapidly, closing the gap with the UK, and even surpassing it by attracting the largest number of investment projects from the United States for the first time,” Omar said. Ali, Managing Partner of Financial Services at EY.

Spain, Germany and Ireland round out the top five countries in EY’s ranking, while Madrid, Dublin and Berlin round out the top five cities.

Britain continued to attract proportionately more new projects than France – which tend to generate more jobs – rather than extensions of existing projects, EY said.

Britain was also seen as the most attractive European country for future investment in financial services, ahead of Germany in second place and France in third, according to an EY survey of global investors.

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Reporting by Iain Withers; Editing by Edmund Blair

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