Brexit Is an Opportunity for European Markets, Euronext CEO Says

  • Market players will have to get closer to euro customers
  • French governement and banks aligned on promoting Paris

The U.K. vote to leave the EU is a growth opportunity for euro zone-based market places and market players will have to reorganize their businesses within the EU, Stock Exchange operator Euronext NV Chief Executive Officer Stephane Boujnah said Saturday.

“The British decision makes Europe more relevant, the euro zone more relevant, Euronext more relevant," Boujnah said in an interview on the sidelines of a business conference in Aix-en-Provence, France.

Stephane Boujnah

Photographer: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

Following the so-called Brexit, London-based companies could lose their European financial passport. EU countries and cities such as Dublin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam or Paris would like to attract those companies in order to become the next European financial center, he said.

For one thing, market participants and providers of financial services will have to get closer to their euro customers, Boujnah said.

“If you need to be close to industrial and commercial clients, if you need to be close to large banks, if you need to be close to euro clients, then places like Amsterdam and Paris are extremely relevant”, Boujnah said.

“If you want to be close to the regulator, Frankfurt is probably more relevant,” he also said.

French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday that lucrative clearing operations should belong to a member country of the euro zone while German officials said Frankfurt would be a better destination for these essential operations 
in the financial world.

There is strong alignment between the French government, financial bodies and large banks like BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale SA and Credit agricole SA to promote the attractiveness of Paris, Boujnah said.

“This is a new environment and everyone starting to analyze the situation is probably moving on the safe side ,” he said. “It will take time.”

Speaking Saturday on the sidelines of the Aix conference, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin cautioned against a “divide-the-spoils” approach to the British decision to leave the European Union, saying it would be both wrong and damaging.

As for the planned merger of the London Stock Exchange with Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse, Boujnah said the situation would likely be scrutinized in the light of the post-Brexit environment, notably by every concerned anti-trust authorities. In the end, only shareholders will decide upon the merits of such a plan, he said.

Acquisitions can play a key part of Euronext’s expansion strategy, Boujnah said. He cautioned though that any exchange which would want to join would have to abide by Euronext’s ’federal model’ and rules.

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