T H E H I S T O R Y O F A G L O B A L F I N A N C I A L G R O U P

Following the 1860 Anglo-French Free Trade Treaty, CNEP was the first French bank to build an international network for the purpose of financing international trade. It set up in Shanghai in 1860, and in India the same year in order to finance cotton imports into France. Branches also opened in Australia in 1881 in response to demand from the wool industrialists in the north of France and in Mazamet, in southern France.

Banking at this time was still a fragile industry, suffering frequent crises. CNEP itself went through a serious crisis in 1889. It was immediately re-founded and commenced doing business again under the prudent management of Alexis Rostand. The strong risk culture he inculcated at that time has come down to us through the decades.

The period from 1870-1914 saw high levels of surplus savings in France, and Paris rivalled London as a financial centre at that time. CNEP built up a reputation in the financial mar- kets for the management and placement of both sovereign and corporate bond issues and the issuance of company stocks and shares.

On the banking syndicates which were put together to raise the capital necessary to finance large projects, CNEP often found itself in the company of a major French merchant

SIEDZIBA COMPTOIR NATIONAL D ESCOMPTE DE PARIS, PREKURSORA

BNP PARIBAS. WIDOK NA ATRIUM W 1882 R.

HEAD OFFICE OF THE COMPTOIR NATIONAL D ESCOMPTE DE PARIS,

A DIRECT FORERUNNER OF BNP PARIBAS. VIEW OF THE ATRIUM IN 1882

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