As the U.K. edges toward an exit from the European Union, Paris and Frankfurt are already competing to be the home of banking operations currently headquartered in London. A report from the French lobbying group Europlace says Paris could lure as many as 20,000 workers from London’s financial industry, according to Bloomberg. To usher in those workers, Paris will be taking meetings with banking executives as early as February, the report says.
Banks are keen to get out ahead of an actual Brexit, which is currently set for 2019. The banking exodus could spur big growth for the French and German financial sectors. Major banking institutions are putting pressure on British Prime Minister Theresa May to maintain access to the European market as she negotiates Britain’s exit, a process that could begin in March. They say if May is unable to secure such a deal, they will move operations to other cities inside the union. That threat is beginning to look more likely.