December 20, 2016 / 5:05 PM / 9 months ago

France's BNP Paribas builds up its M&A team in Britain

A logo of BNP Paribas is seen outside its Tokyo headquarters, Japan, January 7, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - BNP Paribas plans to add two senior people to its 15-strong London team covering British M&A and take on an equity capital markets banker too, part of a plan to boost its investment banking market share outside France, banking executives told Reuters.

The volume of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals involving British companies has fallen by 58 percent to $162 billion this year due to uncertainties around Britain’s vote this summer to quit the European Union, according to Thomson Reuters data.

However, BNP senses this tide is turning.

“Brexit creates uncertainty, but also new opportunities, which is manifest today by a pickup in (M&A) activity,” said Eric Jacquemot, head of Corporate Finance for the UK at BNP Paribas CIB, in an interview.

Sophie Javary, head of EMEA Corporate Finance at BNP Paribas CIB, said in the same interview that as well as the UK hires, the bank would also keep investing in Germany, Scandinavia and the United States as well.

“This is one of our strategic goals to win market share in investment banking outside France, even though it is true that our key market remains continental Europe.”

BNP and its French national rival Societe Generale have said that having overhauled their balance sheets years ago, they are now winning market share in corporate and investment banking despite a regulatory squeeze that is pushing other parties to scale back.

However, they slid in M&A rankings in 2016 globally, and in Europe, not making it into the top 20, even though BNP, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale are all in the top 20 of biggest banks globally.

Thomson Reuters analysis of the deals in 2016 showed that BNP Paribas dropped 16 places in ranking of mergers and acquisitions in value terms this year to come 26th in Europe. SocGen came 23rd, Credit Agricole 24th.

“It’s not because they (French banks) don’t have enough financing or teams, or offices, French banks are well-equipped compared to Anglo-Saxon banks,” a Paris-based consultant in M&A told Reuters.

“The reason lies more in international relations and networks of influence”.

Editing by Ruth Pitchford

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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