Don’t worry about finance jobs moving abroad – our capital’s appeal is unique

Catherine McGuinness
What London can offer is unmatched by the other EU member states vying for the regulatory agencies (Source: Getty)

The applications have now been completed, the glossy brochures printed and sent off, the hired lobbying companies done with their work, and the delegations ticked off the list.

The long process to decide the future locations of both the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is well and truly past the initial scoping point, and we now enter the deliberation phase.

In a few short months, we will find out where these regulatory bodies will be moved to as they leave Canary Wharf, their respective offices since 2011 and 1995.

Read more: Revealed: The cities hoping to host the EBA after Brexit

The usual cities pop up when we look at the EBA’s list of possible locations – Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Paris, Prague, Luxembourg City, Vienna and Warsaw. The first four in particular are regularly mentioned when speculating where financial services firms might transfer some of their own jobs after Brexit.

While the number of jobs on offer for the EBA might be quite low – around 160 – the coup that comes from attracting the regulator will be a decent scalp for any European city.

Depending on what you read – or indeed which bookmaker you use – Frankfurt remains the favourite to win, potentially bagging it another EU body alongside the European Central Bank. What also makes this interesting is the possible merger with the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, already based in the German city, which was announced in March.

However, the usual arguments against Frankfurt always tend to pop up in the same arena: inadequate office space, a dense and small metropolitan area, and a heavy strain placed on public services, particularly schooling.

Meanwhile, there are a total of 19 countries vying to host the EMA. It was therefore interesting to note stories emerging recently which reported that as many as 75 per cent of the staff there wanted to remain in the UK after the agency moved.

My view is that this sentiment is symptomatic of the reasons why so many people from across the globe view London as an attractive place to live and work.

What London can offer is unmatched by the other EU member states vying for the regulatory agencies. From top quality schools and universities, to a rich, vibrant and thriving cultural scene, the capital provides world class attractions in culture, arts, entertainment, dining and open spaces – it is unique.

Whatever happens, the UK will remain the place to be for financial and professional services across Europe and around the world. It is hardly surprising to see some jobs go elsewhere. But in turn, we also expect to see more jobs being in the various services sectors across the EU as a result of Brexit. London isn’t going anywhere.

Read more: Government to publish proposals for smooth Brexit transition

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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