Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to unveil new measures to push Paris as financial hub

5th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2007, LONDON (AFP) - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said in an interview published Friday that she wants to promote Paris as a financial services hub.

5 October 2007

LONDON (AFP) - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said in an interview published Friday that she wants to promote Paris as a financial services hub.

Speaking to the Financial Times in Paris, Lagarde said the strength and security of France's regulatory regime was a plus for the French capital, but noted that she did not want to knock London off its perch as Europe's financial centre.

"One shouldn't rejoice in the misfortunes of others," she told the business daily, referring to recent troubles in London's markets as a result of a global credit squeeze and the panic that followed the news that Britain's fifth-biggest mortgage lender applied to the Bank of England for an emergency loan.

"All the same, the weeks since mid-August show us that the strength of a financial market, and its reputation, do not count for much.

"The security and solidity of France's regulatory structure is a strength, especially during a period of financial difficulty."

The FT said that Lagarde would unveil a raft of new measures Friday to promote Paris, such as a new market on the NYSE Euronext Paris exchange that will have less onerous disclosure requirements, the minimum allowed under EU rules, and will operate in English to encourage foreign investors.

According to the paper, the French government will also pledge to cut red tape, and stop embellishing EU financial regulations.

Lagarde told the paper that France's greatest weakness was its high taxes, and added that she had set up a committee of senior industry figures to help identify and overcome obstacles to Paris's promotion as a financial hub.

She said she did not want to try and knock London off its position as a global financial hub, but wanted Paris to copy from London "that semi-incestuous relationship between the exchanges, bankers, insurers, lawyers and accountants."

"That creates a sort of compost on which flourish new financial products and ventures."

AFP

Subject: French news

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