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Societe Generale
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At a Glance


"Opportunities to switch teams"

"Weekend work is rare"


"Seniority counts more than it should"

"Career progression not as rapid as desired"

The Buzz

"Strong investment banking division—very selective"

"Haughty French"

"Very good in derivatives"

About Societe Generale

A Générale feeling 

French banking giant Société Générale is divided into eight main businesses: French networks, international retail banking, global transaction banking, financial services, corporate and investment banking, asset management, private banking, and security services. In France, the bank's retail banking division runs two distribution networks in tandem, Société Générale and Crédit du Nord. SG Private Banking has offices in more than 14 countries, offering wealth management services to clients with a net worth of more than €1 million; as of 2013, the unit had €84 billion in assets under management. And the firm's corporate and investment banking group is one of the leading financial advisors and underwriters in Europe.

A bank decreed

Société Générale was formed by a decree signed by France's then-emperor Napoleon III on 4 May 1864, founding the firm in order to "foster the development of trade and industry in France." During the past two centuries, that's what Société Générale has done. Société Générale fast evolved into a leading European financial services company and a major player in the global market. The firm began its international expansion in 1871 with the opening of a London branch. By 1913, the booming banking powerhouse had established 1,400 branches and established itself as a network bank. The company remained private until 1945, when the bank's capital stock passed into the hands of the French government. Then in 1970, Société Générale stepped up its international development, concentrating on Asia and Eastern Europe. Ten years later, in 1980, the bank had branches in 54 countries. 

Not immune to state aid

Société Générale avoided the staggering losses attributed to mortgage-backed securities and subprime loans that spelled catastrophe for so many investment banks in 2008. Nevertheless, in January 2009, after announcing that it "broke even" for the fourth quarter of 2008, the firm accepted €1.7 billion from the French government. Regarding Société Générale's fourth-quarter breakeven results, and its €2 billion profit for the fiscal year 2008, Pierre Flabbee, an analyst at Kepler Capital Markets, had this to say to the International Herald Tribune: "They are not what you would call very good results, but it reassures in a market where anxieties are maybe excessives."

The new wave of global expansion

Société Générale's capital markets subdivision was created in 1987, and Société Générale was privatised soon after. The next year, and following the lead of many commercial banks, the firm acquired an investment banking arm, purchasing New York-based Cowen & Company. The following year, Société Générale set up retail banking outside France, expanding into Romania, Bulgaria, and Madagascar. The firm's Central European operations, combined with Société Générale's acquisitions in Africa, have headed up the bank's external growth.

Societe Generale

29 Blvd. Haussman
Paris 75009
Phone: +33 1 4214 2000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Public
Stock Symbol: GLE
Stock Exchange: Euronext Paris
Chairman & CEO: Frederic Oudea
2014 Employees (All Locations): 148,000

Major Office Locations

Paris, France