If the capital is a golden goose, it is looking well-stuffed indeed ahead of Christmas. The latest numbers from TheCityUK on the scale of the UK’s financial services industry serve as a healthy reminder of just what a competitive advantage the industry gives both London and the UK more broadly.
If anything, the most extraordinary element is the breadth of the capital’s expertise: from legal services to insurance, fintech to banking, it is seemingly impossible not to find London somewhere near the very top of the tree.
It is unlikely the financial and professional services industry will receive the thanks of a grateful nation, admittedly, despite the efforts of so many in the Square Mile and beyond to minimise the financial hit of the pandemic in people’s pockets. Grown-ups at the Treasury, however, will no doubt be thankful for both the industry’s speed of movement and the tax revenues that come with it.
Most heartening in the data however, despite the myriad top-five finishes of our various sectors, are the signs that new products and new specialisms are coming at pace. It is clear that green finance isn’t going away – and that there are now some 125 funds and ETSs listed on the London Stock Exchange is good news.
The UK is first among non-Muslim-majority countries when it comes to Islamic finance. And on fintech London is pulling away from the European pack.
Why is all this particularly good news? Because for better or for worse the decision to vote to leave the European Union has changed what the City has to do to stay ahead. Simply being a vital hub at the heart of the global economy will not be enough – companies old and new need to be flexible, innovative, different.
So do those mandarins at the Treasury – setting the new rules within which British businesses can thrive. The signs are so far at least pretty promising that they will. Whatever one thought of Brexit, it does appear that predictions of the City’s imminent demise seem to have been overdone.