• BNP Paribas said to move M&A employees on expatriate contracts
  • Company is overhauling the investment bank to cut costs

BNP Paribas SA is planning to relocate as many as 40 senior positions in the investment bank from London to Paris as France’s largest bank overhauls the division, two people familiar with the plan said.

The company is seeking to move bankers who work mainly in advisory roles and are on expatriate contracts, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. The move would help reduce the bank’s costs, the people said. BNP Paribas is also considering reorganizing the corporate finance division by creating divisions along country and industry lines, two people said.

Discussions on the moves are at an early stage and no final decision has been made, said the people. A spokesman for BNP Paribas in London declined to comment.

The firm is looking to trim 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in costs at the securities unit, or 12 percent of the division’s cost base, by 2019 as part of an overhaul that will see the lender focus on businesses that generate higher fees and use less capital. With the review, BNP Paribas is also seeking to counter what it expects to be higher expenses from regulation and the cost of expanding some businesses.

The lender wants to keep its “competitive edge” in trading areas such as derivatives, credit and foreign exchange, while seeking to expand its advisory, securities services, cash management and trade finance businesses, the bank said when it reported fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 5.

BNP Paribas ranked 18th among global merger advisers last year, a record for dealmaking, down from 14th in 2014, data compiled by Bloomberg show. In the fourth quarter, the corporate and institutional banking unit, which houses trading and advisory activities, posted a 9.2 percent drop in pretax profit to 574 million euros.

BNP shares fell 1.4 percent to 40.13 euros at 2:37 p.m. in Paris, valuing the lender at almost 50 billion euros ($55 billion).

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