Invest Bristol & Bath were delighted to take part in the UK Financial Centre of Excellence Conference last week, attended by Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade and Jeffrey Evans, the Rt Hon the Lord Mayor, the Lord Mountevans.
The conference showcased the importance of the UK as a financial hotspot with particular emphasis on specific regions within the UK. It’s stated that 2.2 million jobs in the UK are in the financial services sector, with a huge diversity of “fintech” across UK regions. 5% of the UK workforce are employed in the financial sector, showing its significant importance to the UK economy.
The South West region is particularly advantageous to the financial sector as it offers lower operating costs, lower staff turnover, higher quality of life, easier collaboration with academic institutions but still ease of access to London-based investors.
As Chris Bull, Chair of the Professional and Financial Sector Group for the West of England LEP who attended the event added:
“In a digital age you can choose much more widely about where you can place your operations. There’s a big trend among businesses which are headquartered or have mass operations in London to ‘onshore’ here.
Financial and professional services are the largest sectors in the region. If you set up here, you’re not working from a green field site. We have the infrastructure. We have a strong skills pipeline, with universities and colleges constantly feeding talent into the workforce.
There’s the proximity to the rest of the country, international markets and London. These features give us an edge; a genuine business advantage. This is why large players such as Lloyds, NatWest and Aviva have been drawn here and why Hargreaves Lansdown and Cheltenham & Gloucester have become such major international players from here, employing nearly 20,000 people between them.”
The South West is rated as one of the best places in the UK to do research, develop and commercialise cyber security products and services, with a cyber security cluster known as ‘Cyber Valley’ centred on Cheltenham worth £210m.
Bristol has a well-developed and leading high tech and creative and digital cluster where specialisms are key, for instance Ultrahaptics’ technology holds a leading role in Virtual Reality, which was mentioned at the event.
According to Michael Cole-Fontayn, Executive Vice President of BNY Mellon who spoke at the event:
“The most valuable support that can be offered to an organization is in offering case studies and planning relocation. Making the decision to expand is simple. The key is speed of entry to market in any new location.”
Invest Bristol & Bath can help companies to relocate or expand in the region and provides all the logistical support to allow this to happen.