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Financial services 'can support economic growth'


A new report from financial services lobbying group TheCityUK has highlighted the potential input the industry can offer to the British economy as a whole, assuming that it is given the support it needs and not overburdened with regulatory constraints.

The figures do underline the fact that financial services is a major contributor to Britain's wealth.

It employs two million people in the UK - contrary to conventional wisdom, two-thirds of these workers are based outside of London.

On average, these people contribute £83,000 a year to the UK economy, 70 per cent more than the round figure for those in other industries.

Craig Donaldson, the chief executive officer of Metro Bank, pointed out that many companies are performing well outside of the traditional financial base of the City of London.

"As this report makes clear, financial and related professional services truly add value and create employment and opportunity across the UK and its economy," he added.

Some of the biggest centres for financial services outside of London include Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Smaller hubs such as Belfast are also deserving of a mention.

Interestingly, the average age of workers in the industry is lower than the norm - 50 per cent are younger than 40, compared to 46 per cent in other sectors.

With the UK out-performing many of its global rivals despite the country's relatively small size - it is the leading European centre for investment and private banking, hedge funds, private equity, exchange traded derivatives and sovereign wealth funds - TheCityUK hopes it will be allowed to keep expanding and contributing to the economy.

"Developing a broad spread of activity both geographically and across the range of banking, insurance, legal, and other financial and related professional services can provide the necessary catalyst for regional and national economies to flourish," concluded the report.

The ongoing debate over Britain's status in the EU is likely to have a major impact on the sector's future, with many business leaders hoping to stay in the union.

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