The global war for talent is a battle we must win

This time last year, in my first column for CityA.M., I spoke about the tough times we were about to face in the coming months and years and the importance of retaining the City&rsquo;s global competitiveness during turbulent times. Now, as I come to the end of my term in office and as our economy shows some signs of recovery, it is clear that the economic landscape has changed beyond all recognition.<br /><br />London is renowned for its world-class workforce but, as emerging financial centres commit vast resources in an attempt to replicate and surpass our achievements, we must guard against complacency. If the City is to continue to set the pace we must produce and, more importantly retain, world-leading economists and financiers. <br /><br />We must also promote greater financial literacy amongst our children &ndash; this has been a key theme of my Mayoralty and I am pleased to say progress has been made.<br /><br />For several years, The City of London has engaged with its neighbouring boroughs, educating local children about the financial services industry and providing an insight into the vast array of career opportunities available in the Square Mile. We also continue to invest in broader education. Indeed, one of the proudest moments of my Mayoralty came just last week when I was invited to open formally our latest City Academy in Hackney. <br /><br />That said, producing our own top brains cannot be enough. We must also win the global battle to attract talent from overseas. A key part of London&rsquo;s future attraction must be a regulatory structure that, whilst providing adequate protection to consumers &ndash; and tax-payers &ndash; also provides businesses with the freedom to compete in global financial markets.<br /><br />And it is not just our own business environment on which we need to focus. Our future prosperity and economic stability depend very much on other financial centres, particularly in emerging markets such as India and China, developing properly engineered financial services industries, supported by a well-functioning infrastructure and a trained workforce.<br /><br />That is why over the past 12 months I have travelled to 38 cities in 21 countries, cementing London&rsquo;s relationship with our global partners and bolstering our reputation as a leading centre for international finance. Exactly one week today, at the Lord Mayor&rsquo;s Banquet in Guildhall, we welcome the 682nd holder of this great and ancient office, Alderman Nick Anstee, to his new role.<br /><br />Despite &ndash; or even because - of the storms, it has been a privilege to represent the City of London over the past 12 months. The City is one of this country&rsquo;s most valuable assets and it is incumbent upon all of those who work here to restore and enhance our worldwide reputation. I hope that I have played my part &ndash; as the 681st Lord Mayor &ndash; in sustaining its long-term reputation.<br /><br />Ian Luder is Lord Mayor of the City of London Corporation.