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France

Best bank
BNP Paribas Best debt house
SG CIB

Best equities house
SG CIB

Best M&A house
Morgan Stanley

Best local partner
Rothschild

BNP Paribas will need to work hard to maintain its lead over SG as best bank in France but for now its position is safe. Its capital markets franchise, focused on corporates, is one of the biggest in the region, and the model seems to be working.

The firm is the biggest manager of syndicated loans in its home market, handling over a third more in volume than its nearest rival, the newly merged Calyon. In bonds, it may be slightly behind SG in terms of volumes, but managed 85 transactions, almost one-third more than its rival. And in equities, despite the inevitable confusion that has surrounded the creation of its new brokerage joint venture with Exane, it has maintained a respectable position.

Results from the first quarter of 2004 did indicate a hefty drop in capital markets revenues, which is thought to have come from the fixed-income businesses, but the bank insists client flows remain healthy.

Elsewhere in the firm, retail banking is growing steadily. Net profits for the first quarter of the year comfortably beat expectations, at €1.2

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