Belfast could be UK’s second fastest-growing financial services centre by 2025

Belfast could become one of the leading UK centres for financial services according to a new report published today [6 July 2017].

A report outlining the future strategy for the UK’s financial services (FS) industry from TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy&, says that Belfast could become be the second fastest-growing FS centre in the UK, growing by around 25% and part of an industry creating £16bn of additional GVA by 2025.

The authors say that 70% of these new revenues could be delivered outside London, with the fastest growing regions expected to be the North East (30% growth), Northern Ireland (25%), the West Midlands (23%), Yorkshire and the Humber (23%) and the East Midlands (19%), the report says.

TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy&’s strategic vision for UK-based financial and related professional services looks beyond Brexit to 2025 and examines the role the FS industry can play in creating long-term success outside the EU.

TheCityUK represents the UK-based financial and related professional services industry and the report, 'A vision for a transformed, world-leading industry' provides an ambitious and practical roadmap to secure the industry's future. The authors say implementation will ensure a transformed and renewed industry that continues to be world-class, highly innovative and better able to meet the changing needs of customers.

According to the report, the financial services sector currently employs over two million people across the UK, with around two-thirds based outside London. It highlights examples of firms embracing the potential of regionalisation, with over 2,000 Citigroup staff now located in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and Newry’s First Derivatives with over 1,200 employees.

 

Ian McConnell PwC Northern Ireland partner and financial services lead, said that technology is transforming the way the industry does business and will generate new opportunities across the regions:

“London will remain a premier location, but the emerging jewels in the crown by 2025 will be regional financial centres outside London. Banking, insurance, asset management and back-office operations will continue to develop, hosting more headquarters of major companies.

 

“Belfast’s advantages include availability of skilled labour, proximity to London and its Dublin competitor, as well as world-class universities and a relatively low-cost of doing business. Post Brexit, Belfast will enjoy a unique position as part of the UK, but as geographically next-door to Ireland and the EU.

 

“That means we must concentrate on developing the necessary infrastructure, from high-speed broadband and rapid access to other centres, as well as investing in the technology skills that will provide a ready and available labour pool and aggressively marketing our attractions to global FS organisations.

 

“The prize is substantial - our estimates show the implementation of this strategy could add £43bn to the overall UK economy – and Belfast can share in this prosperity.”

 

The report contains a number of case studies of regions that have improved their position as FS centres or hubs following a period of rapid growth. The Republic of Ireland and Belfast are featured, alongside Singapore and Israel, as having a coherent strategy, and coordinated stakeholder actions, with Queen’s University and Invest NI praised for their collaboration in driving growth.

Looking to the future TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy& say Belfast has the potential to grow into a major back-office hub and a specialist centre to further develop traditional financial centres as well as newer digital areas like cyber security.

The report says that the FS industry is responsible for transforming itself into the world-leader the strategy describes, but will only reach its full potential with an effective and strategic partnership with government and regulators. But success in delivering that will see the industry:

  • Embrace innovation and new technologies to provide better and more tailored products and services and be a leader in cyber security, using data in a secure and sophisticated way.
  • Enhance the prominence of hubs in regional and national centres, developing specialist roles and ensuring a strong supply of local talent with relevant skills.
  • Retain its full ecosystem of financial and related professional services and keep the UK at the global forefront of financial innovation by continuing to be a world-leading FinTech centre.

 

Mark Hoban, TheCityUK Board Director and report Chair, said the FS industry has thrived by embracing change and tackling challenges:

“This vision is ambitious and delivering this transformation cannot be done by the industry alone. A strategic partnership with government and regulators is essential to its success and ensure the UK remains the world’s leading financial centre meeting the needs of its domestic and international customers.”

 

 

Ends

Notes to editors

A copy of the report, 'A vision for a transformed, world-leading industry' can be downloaded from the link below.

TheCityUK has an ISDN studio and spokespeople available. To arrange an interview or for further information, please contact:

Jack Neill-Hall / 020 3696 0114 or 07809 334 681 / jack.neill-hall@thecityuk.com

Jennifer Green / 020 3696 0115 or 07899 102 889 / jennifer.green@thecityuk.com

Mike Robb / 020 7947 5315 or 07887 571 244 / TheCityUKPR@cicero-group.com

About TheCityUK

TheCityUK represents the UK-based financial and related professional services industry. We lobby on its behalf, producing evidence of its importance to the wider national economy. At home in the UK, in the EU and internationally, we seek to influence policy to drive competitiveness, creating jobs and lasting economic growth - www.thecityuk.com.

About PwC’s Strategy&

PwC’s Strategy& is a global team of practical strategists committed to helping you seize essential advantage. We do that by working alongside you to solve your toughest problems and helping you capture your greatest opportunities. These are complex and high-stakes undertakings – often game-changing transformations. We bring 100 years of strategy consulting experience and the unrivalled industry and functional capabilities of the PwC network to the task. Whether you’re charting your corporate strategy, transforming a function or business unit, or building critical capabilities, we’ll help you create the value you’re looking for with speed, confidence, and impact. Visit us at strategyand.pwc.com

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John Compton
Corporate Affairs, Northern Ireland and Deputy Head of UK Media Relations
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