Recommended: With Brexit sapping the City, Paris sets its sights on blockchain (
The French asset management association has called for regulators to make it easier for people to trade digital assets through investment funds in a bid to “kick-start” Paris’s role as a financial centre.

The trade body, whose goal is to both promote France as a leader in European asset management and foster the competitiveness of the industry, recommends that new European regulations be created as quickly as possible to regulate activities in digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies, qualified as financial instruments.

The French asset management association (AFG) also called on the French market regulator, the AMF, to support the use of blockchain technology in mutual funds, in particular for developing a distributed-ledger system governing the purchase and sale of shares in funds.

“To make France more competitive, the financial sector itself has to be more competitive,” Éric Pinon, president of the AFG, and Jean-Pierre Grimaud, chief executive of OFI Asset Management, said in a joint statement.

According to the association, France’s share of the asset management industry in Europe (excluding the UK) is estimated at 27%, with €4tn of assets under management and 85,000 employees.

“At a time where the capital markets union is being set up in Europe and as Brexit becomes uncertain, these characteristics represent a competitive advantage,” the senior executives add.

The AFG’s report on competitiveness, published on July 9, includes recommendations to promote investment in small and medium-sized enterprises and unicorns (start-ups valued at more than $1bn).

It also recommends reforming the fiscal and accounting framework in France to make it more attractive to foreign businesses.

The report, which blamed Brexit on “the fruit of tensions in the Conservative party and historical ambiguities between the continental and British views of the European Union”, arrives as the prospect of a disorderly UK exit from the EU looms large over the City.

Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and favourite to be the next prime minister, has said the UK will leave the EU by the October 31 deadline “do or die”.

Both the French capital and Frankfurt have been vying for the attention of financial services companies and other businesses that may wish to relocate their European operations after Brexit.
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