Sustainability

An interview with Philippe Bradshaw, the newly appointed Country Head of France

NatWest is growing its customer focussed commercial and institutional banking franchise across Europe. France is a core part of the strategy and integral to the business as it builds and grows.

Philippe Bradshaw was recently appointed Country Head of France alongside his responsibilities as Head of Syndicate at NatWest Markets N.V.. He brings considerable knowledge to the fixed income markets, with experience spanning over 30 years in sales, origination and syndication. He has spent most of his career in London, Paris and Amsterdam.

What are your goals as Country Head of France?

Our goal is to support our French customers, prioritising what matters to them and assisting them with their day-to-day activities at the same time. We want to deliver the strategic advice and expertise our customers need to grow quickly and confidently.

Creating connectivity between a wide range of activities is one of my key focus areas for the Paris office. For example, good marketing materials are being exchanged and monetised between our teams at Financial Institutions (FI), Sovereigns, Supranationals and Agencies (SSA) and Corporate Coverage which helps content delivery to our clients. 

Another angle is the quality of our sales force based in Paris covering French, Benelux, Nordic, Swiss, Spanish and Portuguese clients. That yields ongoing engagement with some of the largest European investors on a wide range of products.

Can you tell us a bit about the team in Paris?

Our Paris office, now at 50 colleagues and growing, is considered a commercial hub with more than 90% of us engaging with customers. A significant part of our European FX team and a large part of the European sales team are based here, covering French, Benelux, Nordic and Swiss investors. These are also based alongside our Private Financing, FI and Frequent Borrowers Group (FBG) coverage teams. 

The N.V. Syndicate team completes the commercial platform with flow syndicate covering FIs, Corporates, SSA new issues and Commercial Paper / Medium Term Notes (MTNs), Loans and Leveraged Loans.

The relatively small size of our Paris office enables great connectivity across the location. For example, we now have regular conversations about optimising returns versus risk Weighted Assets (RWA). The size also helps facilitate content delivery with other locations across Europe and in London where feedback from European accounts is of key relevance for our UK clients.

We have a diverse range of nationalities on the floor which creates a good international feel. It’s important for me that our new joiners feel welcome, and the unique Paris environment definitely helps with their integration. 

What opportunities and challenges lie ahead for our customers in France?

Business opportunities in Paris can be very sizeable given the combination of one the largest investor bases in Europe and a large number of French FI, Corporates and FBG issuers. In addition, our Paris hub provides the ability to source significant talent given the large number of financial institutions that are now based in France. However, this can be a challenge. The French market is very competitive and many banks are able to provide significant balance sheet support to clients.

How would you describe NatWest’s purpose for the future?

We are determined to be a leading bank in addressing climate change and we need to communicate how we can help our clients to take advantage of the many opportunities that transitioning to a low carbon future offers.

Being based in Europe is rewarding thanks to our contribution to the Sustainable Funding and Financing target of NatWest, for example with a Notional of £1.375bn in Q1 this year.

What is the market impact of Macron’s re-election?

For once, the opinions polls were quite accurate and therefore the market reaction after the second-round outcome was quite limited. Market focus is now on the parliamentary elections in June where Macron needs to have a majority so he can implement his programme for his second mandate.

What are NatWest’s plans in Europe?

We have a comprehensive European proposition in place which is vital to support NatWest Group’s overall strategy, predominantly for our core commercial, corporate and institutional customers with significant requirements in Europe. We’re continuing to invest in our teams across Europe in line with our purpose to champion potential. Last year, we announced our plans to create a ring-fenced entity in Europe, which will allow us to maximise our ability to support UK customers as they seek to increase economic activity and investment in Europe.

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