Friday 22 January 2021 6:30 pm

London still in first place for financial and professional services

London continues to hold the top spot for financial and professional services when compared with other major cities, a report by the City of London Corporation has found.

The research, which took 91 different metrics for success into account, found that, while other major centres may lead on some measures, London and the UK have the strongest overall competitive offering.

The report found London also consistently performs strongly across all key dimensions, including innovation, reach of financial activity, resilience and business infrastructure, talent and skills, and regulation.

London received an overall competitiveness score of 62, followed by New York (54) and Singapore (53). The rankings were rounded out with Frankfurt (41), Hong Kong (40) and Tokyo (32).

The capital was also praised for its tech and innovation in financial services, its legal framework and ability to set international standards, and being Europe’s leading destination for investment in financial services.

Broadband slowest of major cities

Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “The competitive strengths of London and the UK should mean that we are well placed to seize opportunities as we start a new trading chapter outside the European Union.

“In order to do so, however, we need invest in infrastructure and skills across the country. We also need to ensure our regulatory framework keeps pace with technological change and innovation.”

McGuinness said the UK must show “global leadership” as its takes over the G7 presidency and prepares for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

“Our financial and professional services sector has a vital role to play in tackling climate change and driving the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.

The report also identified areas in which the UK’s financial centre could be improved.

It found London and the UK are lagging behind the US on the total number of listed foreign companies and Hong Kong for its increasing number of foreign IPOs.

It also pointed out London and the UK have the slowest broadband speeds of all global financial centres.

It added that just one in five (20%) executive positions are held by women in financial services, lagging behind its global comparators. The report said achieving gender parity would help businesses tap unused customer potential.

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