‘Time is Running Out,’ Asset Manager Tells Hollande
The founder and chairman of France's largest independent asset manager, Edouard Carmignac has written an open letter to French President Francois Hollande, urging him to address the crisis of confidence in the country before it's too late.
In his open letter, Carmignac warned the president that "time is running out" for France's reputation.
"The economy is condemned by its lack of competitiveness to indefinite modest growth, and when public spending accounts for 57 percent of GDP – of which only 90 percent is covered by tax receipts, refusing to offer a credible cost-cutting program for the public sector is suicidal," he said.
Carmignac's letter comes as European fund managers grow increasingly wary of investing in France.
Neil Wilkinson, European growth manager at Royal London Asset Management has reduced his exposure to France over the last month based on poor macro-economic data from the country.
"I have cut back my French exposure from 27 percent to 21 percent in the last month. In discussions I have had with clients a very common theme is France has changed for the worse," said Wilkinson.
"I recently spoke to temporary employment agency Adecco, who have announced a cost cutting program, half of which is focused on France. They noted stabilization in the European market in January and February this year,with the exception of France. That to me is a pretty good bellwether for the broader economy," he added.
Wilkinson has taken money out of a range of mostly cyclical French businesses such as the insurer Axa and auto company Renault, putting the proceeds into cash.
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Andreas Zoellinger, a continental European fund manager at BlackRock believes growth will continue to be an issue in the region.
"I think it is a very low growth environment. The rhetoric from politicians is not helpful, but nevertheless France will remain a low growth country for the foreseeable future," said Zoellinger.
"The companies we in invest in France would not have much exposure to such trends. For example, global pharmaceuticals company Sanofi has 30 percent of its business in emerging markets , with only about 10-15 percent of the business conducted in France,"he said.
"While we may choose companies domiciled in France, we look for ones where domestic French politics really don't matter as much," he added.
—By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave;.Follow her on Twitter @jenny_cosgrave.