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Bankers in Paris are unperturbed by the riots

Given the violent scenes in France, it might be supposed that financial services professionals in Paris are feeling a bit nervous. Not at all. As generally seems to be the case whenever riots kick off in the French capital, bankers in the city say they live in a different world. 

"I live in a bubble," says one senior banker at Bank of America in Paris. "I've never even seen a yellow jacket."

A managing director on the trading floor at BNP Paribas in Paris is equally sanguine. "Personally, I've seen nothing away from the TV and media," he says. "Some shops have been impacted near Chatelet but it's not a residential area." Another senior BNP insider confirms that he too has "seen nothing."

Senior bankers in Paris said something similar during the gilet jaunes protests of 2019, when they claimed that the impact of the protests was being exaggerated in London. Similarly, during the protests about plans to increase the retirement age in France earlier this year, Paris bankers told us their lives were unaffected. "My rubbish was collected every week," says the BofA banker. "- We have private rubbish collectors."

Paris bankers' apparent calm follows a near week of riots in France after police shot 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk at what appeared to be point-blank range in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Media reports have shown looting of high end shops both inside and outside the French capital.

The senior BNP Paribas trader said he was much more impacted by the strikes relating to the retirement age a few months ago, when travel in and out of the office was effected.

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Sh
    Shark
    5 July 2023

    Delusional... This is the exact behavior that is driving those French protests. If the elite isn't even concerned by social challenges, then how can we find a middle-ground of compromise and discussions? The next presidential election in 2027 has high chances of seeing the communist or far-right parties winning both suggesting higher taxes. Not sure that the French chauvinist elite will still say "we are not affected".

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