The City of London financial district, though diminished by scandals and job cuts, is proving irresistible to fed-up Parisian bankers fleeing France's rising taxes and the feeling that they're not best loved at home.
Take Bertrand Meunier, who recently agreed to move to London to take a job at private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, leaving a long-term leadership position at PAI Partners, a private equity firm that was spun off from French bank BNP Paribas [BNP-FR 34.385 -0.615 (-1.76%) ] over a decade ago.
The tax picture played a part in his decision, Meunier acknowledges, but so too did a wider sense that London rewards work and entrepreneurship, while many of his compatriots take a jaundiced view of financial success.
"I have many friends and family members here, and they've tried to convince me to move for a while," he told Reuters. "I think that London is quite extraordinary; the buildings are small, it's very green, people have a good attitude towards work and wealth.
"What irritates me about France today is how the taste for work, for effort, has been completely lost," he added.
Although few are willing to talk on the record about their dissatisfaction, he may soon have more company.
"Many French banks have planned to transfer more operations to London. The tax burden is lighter, and there is more flexibility there. It also makes sense to grow international operations from there," said Stephane Rambosson, managing partner of executive search firm Veni Partners.
SocGen in particular is actively considering moving some trading staff to London, three sources familiar with the matter said.
The French bank is reviewing a plan to send client-facing staff to London as they are typically on higher salaries than back-office people, one person at the bank said.
Some M&A bankers with a sector focus will also join existing teams in London, several people at the bank said. A handful of Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) M&A bankers will for instance move to London in September, the people said.
SocGen's investment bank employed 12,000 people at the end of last year, though that number has since declined due to job cuts.