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Société Générale chairman Daniel Bouton: France’s banking model

Société Générale chairman Daniel Bouton speaks to Euromoney’s Jennifer Morris about his bank’s performance, strategy and prospects

Your results this year were pretty impressive considering market conditions but as usual rely on income from retail banking. Do you believe that's sustainable?

We had a good year in retail banking but it wasn't the only business driving results. The performance of the corporate and investment bank is absolutely brilliant considering the performance of the sector. SG is among the best performers in Europe, with a 16.3% return on equity excluding restructuring costs.

We have now reached what I consider to be a good allocation of equity. A quarter of our capital is in corporate and investment banking. Second, we have built an asset management platform that is among the top in continental Europe. Third, the retail bank in France performs very well. We have also built new businesses with retail banking outside France generating 12% of the group's net banking income and specialized financial services at 11% in 2002. My idea is not to change this allocation, which in my view fits very well with the current situation.

What do you see as the greatest threat to your business today?

It's the uncertainty of the economic situation in the countries where you operate.

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