Valérie Pécresse, do you think stock market investment by individuals should be promoted?
VP: “French companies need capital and too few turn to the stock market for its primary function: to raise capital. IPOs suffer in particular from the low number of individuals who invest in the stock market. I believe that an alert and creative economy should be able to rely on a greater percentage of stock market investors.
First, there is a question of pedagogy. Stock market investments are risky and many first-time investors were not sufficiently aware of this during the wave of privatizations, for example. At the same time, over the long term, stock market investments remain the most profitable and it is unfair not to allow more French people to benefit from them. A correct pedagogy goes through middle school and high school where the presented vision of the economy is often very ideological and unfavorable to market logic. Part of the media and the body politic convey very negative prejudices: a word like dividend, for example, has a negative connotation whereas it is the necessary and random remuneration of a capital investment without which the development of companies would not be possible. possible.
Sites like yours contribute positively to informing about stock market investments. There are approximately 6.5 million PEAs in France: it would be desirable for there to be as many active investors, this is not at all the case. I will give them investment opportunities since I intend to sell at least 15 billion euros of minority stakes of the State which has nothing to do in this role in the capital of companies in the competitive sector .
How to redirect the financial windfall towards sustainability in the broad sense (environmental and social). How to create a real flow of wealth to populations and public services? Whether savings, dividends or capital gains?
VP: “The term runoff used by Emmanuel Macron does not seem very appropriate to me. In a country like France, there is quite simply a very strong function of redistribution since public expenditure represented 60% of GDP in 2021. Wealth created finance some of the highest taxes in the world, which enable the State to finance public services and support the most vulnerable populations. Does it do it at best? No, our country deserves better public performance, but it does not there is no doubt that our economic and financial activity is key to financing our hospitals, our schools or our security.
In social matters, I believe that it is in the long-term interest of our country to consolidate the national consensus around companies. They must continue to associate their employees with their success. I hope that at the end of my mandate, listed companies will be able to have employee shareholders for at least 10% of their capital. In the same vein, I will remove the social package in two stages to encourage profit-sharing and participation, which must be less taxed and become a real employee dividend (with the right to choose between the taxation of dividends and that salaries).
Finally, with regard to sustainable development, extra-financial standards are developing rapidly. Listed companies must promote new development models and listed companies are thus driving forces for the entire economy. The State will also have to show more of an example, whether it is a question of the thermal renovation of its buildings, of its car fleet. In recent years, his inconsistent and soft policies have led to condemnations for ‘climate inaction’.”
Do you intend to keep or modify the taxation related to the PEA?
VP: “Yes, I think that the legislative and fiscal framework of the PEA and the PEA-PME should be kept. I think that the total investment ceiling could even be raised.”
There are still tax havens in the EU, scandals revealing massive evasions are recurrent, what do you propose?
VP: “The fight against tax and social fraud will be one of the main priorities of my mandate. In 2027, I expect 15 billion in additional revenue. Given the scale of the phenomenon, it is quite realistic if we gives different means. For example, the European Commission has long urged France to use artificial intelligence to track VAT carousels that often involve other Member States: these techniques must be adopted. Data mining and AI are key in many areas of the fight against tax evasion.
There is also an institutional question. A minister delegated to the fight against tax and social fraud must be posted to the budget minister. It must be able to coordinate all the means of the State (tax services, customs, DGCCRF, specialized police), but also the URSSAF or other joint bodies. The tax services and the URSSAF work too separately, they must be resolutely brought together.
At the European level, the exit from the United Kingdom has effectively withdrawn territories such as Jersey or the Isle of Man. Luxembourg has made progress. But there remains a resolve to implement in a renewed way in the face of fraudsters’ imaginations.”
What tax and legal framework should be applied to crypto-currencies?
VP: “We should congratulate ourselves on having a quality banking system in France with world leaders and a very competent and cutting-edge Fintech ecosystem. We must seize the opportunity of the blockchain revolution and the cryptocurrencies that accompany emergence of an Internet of entrepreneurs where value is better shared to remunerate creators.
This is why I will make the development of this sector a priority, in the extension of my fight at the head of the Ile-de-France region to strengthen the Parisian financial center post-Brexit. For this, I will promote pro-innovation regulation. Also, the development of regulatory “sandboxes” is an interesting experimental approach that allows partial and temporary derogation from the legal framework in force, before possibly adapting it.
We must also train regulators capable of understanding these issues. I have a very ambitious program to rearm the State in digital matters at all levels: the State must also be at the forefront of these technologies!
Moreover, the climate footprint of these technologies is high. I am also aware of the risk of confidence inherent in cryptocurrencies which do not ensure the store of value and therefore pose a speculative risk. Added to this is the protection of young people who find it of great interest. Tomorrow with the Metaverse and the development of NFTs, cryptocurrencies may be the currency of young people…
Let’s encourage innovation but let’s not forget what has been the basis of our monetary regulations to protect savers and macroeconomic stability. I see digital assets as a strategic sector and I will support its dynamism. However, as I had the opportunity to explain, my digital project is first of all regal and sovereign. The adoption of a European framework on crypto-assets with the draft regulation is a step in the right direction and I will ensure this good balance between innovation and protection.”
Valérie Pécresse’s entire program here.