PARIS (Reuters) -France wants to make it easier for private equity funds to invest in listed companies and less costly for finance firms to let go of traders, part of a new push to make Paris more appealing for financial services, a lawmaker said on Monday.

France has been trying to lure high-paying finance jobs to the French capital since Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, and it has had some success.

Between 2017 and 2022, more than 7,000 jobs were created in the sector, according to a draft of a new bill, which was released on Monday and will go to parliament next month.

Wall Street banks including Bank of America, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, as well as European banks such as Barclays, are among those that have expanded their headcount in France.

Notably, the new bill aims to make an exception under French law, which is generally highly protective of employees, for dismissing highly paid traders so that their severance packages are less costly for their employers.

That exception had been sought by some U.S. banks which say potential layoff costs have made it harder to expand headcount of very senior staff in Paris, industry sources told Reuters.

Some bankers, however, are doubtful that the exception will make it into the final legislation because it could be deemed to go against the principle of equality in the French constitution, the sources said previously.

Lawmaker Alexander Holroyd, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party, acknowledged on Monday that it would be far from easy to make legislation singling out certain employees for exceptional legal treatment, but said the measure targeted traders at banks and hedge funds as well as commodity and energy trading companies.

Outlining the bill, Holroyd said that French law needed to be adapted for companies to secure more financing while making Paris a more attractive financial hub.

For private equity firms, the bill would allow them to invest in French firms with a market capitalisation of up to 500 million euros ($547 million), raised from a limit of 150 million currently.

That potentially meant private equity could invest in 88 more French firms than currently, Holroyd said.

The bill would also introduce multi-voting rights as part of initial public offerings on the Paris stock exchange, following in the footsteps of London and Amsterdam.

Among other measures, the bill aims to ease rules for raising fresh capital to better align French law with norms in some other European countries and the United States.

“Europe’s true existential problem is how we finance our economy,” Holroyd told journalists. “If we are able to resolve this problem, we will attract investors.”

Other proposed changes in the new bill include giving companies more leeway in setting the price when they seek to raise fresh capital, a measure sought by start-ups in particular, and reducing the paperwork for banks in trade finance.

FILE PHOTO: The skyline of La Defense business district is seen behind the Trocadero square from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, August 3, 2023. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas and Mathieu Rosemain;Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Susan Fenton)