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UK banking sector 'is geographically diverse'

28/11/13

The nature of much of the media coverage of the UK's financial services sector means that one could be forgiven for thinking that it's all based in London, with nothing of note happening in the regions apart from farming and football.

Of course, this is far from the case, as a recent article by chief executive of the British Bankers' Association Anthony Browne makes clear.

Writing for City AM, Mr Browne urged investors and others to recognise the geographical diversity of the UK's financial services sector.

Although the capital has a deserved reputation as an international hub for commerce and finance, cities such as Manchester are also a big part of the UK's economic future, explained the industry expert.

More than 100,000 bankers are based in the centre of the north-west's biggest city, with the region contributing £15.2 billion to the country's total economy, 12 per cent of gross regional value.

"Over 14,000 people are employed in banking in Leeds. Deutsche Bank has big operations in Birmingham. Citi works out of Belfast. This is not to mention the prospering financial centres of Edinburgh and Bristol," declared Mr Browne.

These figures underline the fact that opportunities for financial services jobs exist across the country, not only in London.

Given that the industry is the UK's biggest export and generates three per cent of GDP, this breadth is reassuring.

"When you drill down into the local benefits the industry offers, it helps to explain the real national value of banking and financial services to Britain," he suggested.

Manchester's increasing engagement with digital industries and marketing makes it a natural home for financial services firms, particularly those that are planning to modernise their processes, It is also a thriving hub for small to medium-sized enterprises, meaning plenty of lending opportunities should crop up.

Although Mr Browne's comments are unlikely to make Londoners any less smug, they do showcase the surprising diversity of an industry often linked indelibly to Canary Wharf and the Square Mile.

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