A Welsh dream: we can fight international competition with more regional investment
The City holds the crown as the world’s leading international financial centre. Yet, we can do more to power the UK’s regional commercial hubs.
London attracts a diverse pool of financial and professional services talent from all around the globe, and provides unrivalled UK business access to world markets.
Its natural impulse for collaboration is what makes the capital tick. It is precisely for this reason that the City must keep seeking new domestic opportunities to help unlock the untapped potential of other UK commercial centres.
The prime example is in fintech: the Government’s Kalifa Review, published last year, shows there is incredible potential for UK-wide collaboration and innovation in the sector.
Fintech hubs are growing across the UK, in Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh and in Manchester.
Like in the City, it is the diverse clusters of talent and skills that make these hubs great.
London should play its part to help them exploit their unique selling points, power their development, and use the capital as a launchpad for growth. We want to build awareness of the opportunities London creates for firms to export domestically and globally.
Last week, I met with members of the Welsh government and business leaders in Cardiff to work to strengthen the links between the region’s growing financial services and the City.
Firms including Monzo, Sero and Yoello have all chosen Wales as a base. In doing so, they have helped transform Wales’ reputation of a coal mining country to a data mining one.
In the Square Mile, we need to also make these companies more visible to City investors, because that enables companies based in regions up and down the country to access international capital as well.
We want to ensure that our financial and professional services sector remains as strong as possible in every part of the country, and Wales shows immense potential to become a powerhouse of UK growth and innovation.
We need to make sure that financial and professional services continue to thrive – UK-wide – and create the jobs this country needs to prosper both economically and socially.
The industry employs 2.3 million people across the country; we want to see this number increase in the years to come.
Over two-thirds of financial and professional services sector jobs are found outside of London. The success of firms outside of the capital benefits from those found in London and vice versa.
Ultimately, there are numerous competitors across the globe who want to take our position as a world leading financial centre.
New York, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, and Singapore are snapping at our heels, wanting to attract businesses and the subsequent jobs that come with them to their cities.
It is in the interests of the whole nation for this industry to succeed.
With our departure from the European Union, working together is all the more important. If cities like London and Cardiff collaborate, the whole UK will prosper.