François Villeroy de Galhau: Regulation and innovation - the yin and yang of the financial sector

Speech by Mr François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Bank of France, at the 2023 Paris Finance Forum, Paris, 5 July 2023. 

Central bank speech  | 
05 July 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in the Paris Finance Forum and I wish to warmly thank Augustin de Romanet for his invitation, and Europlace for their work. Europlace has contributed to the growing interest in the Paris financial centre in the wake of Brexit. As I have the privilege of speaking this lunchtime, I shall begin with dessert. According to an excellent Bloomberg article, "If any city can make claim to being the European Union's new pre-eminent hub, it's Paris". Paris is the only financial centre to offer a broad range of financial activities – from global asset management to insurance and banking and market activities – and it has benefited from the relocation of all segments of the financial industry. Paris has now overtaken London as Europe's largest financial centre in terms of stock market capitalisation. With the presence of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), there is also a 'regulatory hub' – to which I should add the ACPR, generally recognised as an exacting but extremely competent supervisor.

The Paris financial centre is therefore a good illustration of harmonious coexistence between regulation and innovation. In my view, these are the yin and yang of the financial sector. If we are to believe the cliché, 'regulation' and 'innovation' are incompatible. On the contrary! Regulation without innovation would just be sterile conservatism, while innovation without regulation and financial stability would be devoid of the trust that is the sine qua non of sustainability. So, to accompany you as you eat your lunch, I'm going to combine these two ingredients, first as part of a hearty main course on the lessons of the crises of 2023 (I), followed by a slightly newer and more forward-looking recipe for the digitalisation of currency and payments.