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London retains global financial crown in new Brexit boost

·2-min read
A person exits Bank underground station in the City of London financial district - Henry Nicholls/ REUTERS
A person exits Bank underground station in the City of London financial district - Henry Nicholls/ REUTERS

London has retained its crown as the world’s top destination for financial and professional services in terms of its overall offering in another boost for the City.

The Square Mile outperformed other major financial hubs, including New York, Singapore and Paris, as firms quickly adapted to Brexit, according to a new report by the City of London Corporation.

The study examined the global business offering of each city, taking into account 95 metrics including those in nascent fields such as green finance activity.

It found that the City had an “unmatched international financial reach”, while it also excelled as a hub for tech and innovation and its share of headquarters of Fortune Global 500 companies rose by a third over the past year.

It also remained Europe’s leading destination for investment in financial services and was the world’s leading foreign exchange trading centre.

The City was given an overall competitiveness score of 61, followed by New York on 58 and Singapore on 53. Paris received a score of just 41.

Earlier this week, a separate study by EY found that a majority of global finance firms plan to establish or extend their operations in the UK this year.

However, the research also identified ways in which London can improve the UK’s competitiveness as a financial centre.

It found that London trailed Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan in terms of the skill level of its workforce and said that the end of free movement post-Brexit “damaged perceptions of the UK as an attractive business environment for international talent”.

Despite the positive findings for the City, London has lost out to rival hubs in recent years in terms of attracting companies to float on its stock market, while it has also lost significant volumes of share trading activity.

Catherine McGuinness of the City of London Corporation said: "To remain globally competitive, we must future-proof the sector by improving digital skills and infrastructure. Our tax rates must remain globally competitive and, crucially, we need to remain open - and be seen to be open - to the very best talent from across the globe.”

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