France ranks in top fifth globally as location for multinationals’ legal entities

  • Placed in top 20% - 34th out of 180 jurisdictions;
  • Regulatory activity is 16% faster than global average;
  • However, it is 4% more expensive;
  • Paper filings and volume of documentation pose challenges.

PARIS & LONDON--()--France is ranked in the top 20% of jurisdictions globally as an attractive location for multinationals to base legal entities, according to data compiled by Entity Portfolio Management (EPM) leader Mercator® by Citco (Mercator), in its France EPM: Special Report.

Overall, the data – sourced directly from Mercator’s EPM technology platform, Entica® - shows that France ranks 34th out of 180 jurisdictions based on the cost and time it takes to complete key corporate secretarial activities.

It is 16% faster than the global average when it comes to completing key tasks due to the widespread adoption of e-signatures, sole-signature powers and increased adoption of online systems for filings; this is particularly true for updates to Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) registers and Management/Officer Changes. In addition, Board of Director (BOD)/ Shareholder Decisions are an impressive 40% faster to complete in France then the global average, due to ‘sole signature’ powers and no filing requirements for most decisions.

However, the data reveals the country is 4% more expensive for multinationals to operate in compared to the global average. In comparison to higher-ranking jurisdictions, France requires physical paper filings and a local presence. The volume of documentation required is also higher than other leading countries, especially as the exact formalities and deadline requirements can vary depending on the registrar in charge. Yet there are exceptions to this trend: the average cost for a UBO task is markedly 30% less expensive than the global average due to a straight-forward process and the use of e-signatures.

It should be noted the purpose of the France EPM: Special Report is not to advise multinational companies against operating in specific areas or where to base entities or subsidiaries – this is obviously dictated by necessity – but to provide foresight on the relative cost and time it takes to complete activities supporting their entity portfolio, along with top tips for entity management.

Mercator’s Top tips for Navigating Entity Management in France:

  • Keep corporate books up-to-date and in good order. Corporate books are compulsory for most company types in France. Failing to keep these up-to-date or needing to replace a book is not only a time consuming task but incurs additional costs.
  • Use online filings rather than paper where possible. Online filings speed up the process, reduce costs and allow companies to track the status of each formality.
  • Dedicate time to prepare suitable Articles of Association (AoA). A substantial amount of information and rules are contained in AoAs. Having a simplified AoA – without too many added internal rules – provides a company with more flexibility.
  • When no natural UBO is identifiable, consider reporting a top holding individual as UBO. In the lack of a so-called real beneficiary, it is possible to report the management of the company as legal representative(s). However, this results in frequent UBO updates and changes. Reporting a top holding individual as UBO creates more stability and less workload from a corporate secretariat’s perspective.

Kariem Abdellatif, Head of Mercator, said: “France is a key market for many international businesses looking to establish or expand their operations and it is encouraging to see further adoption of online systems – including the new ‘single register of companies’ ("INPI”) – to ease the burden on in-house legal teams and speed up processes.

“However, there remain numerous regulatory quirks and processes that multinationals need to be aware of to keep compliant and maximize efficiencies. Local knowledge and native language skills are also a must in order for multinationals to effectively set up and maintain entities in France.”

To read the full report, please visit:

The France EPM: Special Report is part of Mercator’s Entity Portfolio Management Series, providing direct insight on the cost and time to manage a global portfolio of entities, based on real-life data.

Note to Editors

France EPM: Special Report data

The statistics that form the basis for this report cover August 2022 to September 2023 and represents approximately EUR 1.26 trillion in market capital, spread across major business sectors. The data is drawn directly from Entica®– the propriety technology platform of Mercator® by Citco (Mercator) – which individually records all corporate activities that clients undertake when managing their entity portfolios and covers over 180 jurisdictions.

About Mercator® by Citco (Mercator)

The pioneer of Entity Portfolio Management (EPM), Mercator creates lasting partnerships with its clients to understand their individual needs and offer ease, efficiency and visibility through a clear layer of oversight. Mercator’s unrivalled knowledge of EPM and proprietary technology – Entica® – is evolving the way companies view and manage their portfolio of entities, helping them navigate an increasingly complex regulatory environment.

As a part of the Citco group of companies (Citco), Mercator works closely with Citco’s Corporate Solutions team – a bespoke, centralized service offering Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) accounting and Common Reporting Standard and payroll services, among others. The transparency offered by Mercator’s data insights combined with Corporate Solutions’ proactive expertise, means Citco can support any multinational corporation on all of their entity management needs.

About the Citco group of companies (Citco)

The Citco group of companies (Citco) is a network of independent companies worldwide. These companies are leading providers of asset-servicing solutions to the global alternative investment industry. With over $1.8 trillion in assets under administration and operations spanning across 36 countries, Citco’s unique culture of innovation and client-driven solutions have provided Citco’s clients with a trusted partner for more than four decades.


Amelia Fairbairn / Sophie Mocton: Instinctif Partners:


Amelia Fairbairn / Sophie Mocton: Instinctif Partners: