London still the world’s number one financial centre… but for how much longer?

Whilst it is always good to get away for a break during the summer, it’s always nice to be back home, particularly when home is a city like London. As a born and bred Londoner who still lives in this city this goes double for me.

It was with interest that I read earlier this week that London had retained its position as the world’s number one financial centre despite many pundits’ dire forecasts of the imminent demise of the city post-Brexit. Not just this but that New York, which was London’s greatest rival for this title and was supposedly going to be the major beneficiary of the city’s predicted post-Brexit decline, has suffered most this year with its ratings score falling by 24 points –  the biggest fall amongst the top 15. In contrast, “London’s (score) only fell two points, the smallest decline in the top 10” said the report from the Z/Yen global financial centres index (CFCI) which ranks 92 global financial centres.

But there is no room for complacency. As a recent Bloomberg article pointed out, Frankfurt, Dublin, Paris and Amsterdam all rose up the rankings. As these cities are all likely beneficiaries of any banking and financial services jobs leaving London the point is clear; if the UK loses the passporting rights which allow international financial services businesses to sell their wares and services throughout the Eurozone from London then future CFCI surveys may tell a different story.

For example, Frankfurt rose from 23rd to 11th place this year so the threat is tangible if a hard Brexit means leaving the EU without a trade deal or an implementation period leading to the loss of passporting rights.

In the short to medium term one thing that may help the city is the UK’s educational system and range of international schools in London and the South East. A number of senior bankers including John Cryan, CEO of Deutsche Bank, pointed to the difficulty for other European cities in replicating these at the scale required in the short term. Furthermore, he noted that Frankfurt is in need of “more attractive, urban residential areas….. and a dozen additional theatres and  few hundred restaurants.”

In short, many of the things that make me look forward to coming home to this town!


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