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Yorkshire and the Humber hosts financial and professional services hubs

A new report out today from TheCityUK underlines the important role UK-based financial and related professional services play in underpinning prosperity in Yorkshire and the Humber

Of the 2.2 million people working in the industry, the majority (1.5 million, or around two-thirds) work outside London, 139,000 of them based in Yorkshire and the Humber. In total, the industry represents around 5.8% of the region’s employment, and contributed 8.4% or £9.2bn of Yorkshire and the Humber’s Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2015.

TheCityUK’s report – ‘Enabling Growth across the UK’ – shows that while London remains core to the industry’s strong position, major centres like Yorkshire and the Humber play a key role in maintaining the UK’s place as the world’s leading financial centre. Overall, 21 towns and cities across the country have in excess of 10,000 people in employment in the industry. In Yorkshire and the Humber these include Leeds and Sheffield, with Leeds being one of five major centres across the country with more than 30,000 people employed in financial and related professional services.

Leeds City Region is home to 30 national and international banks, and is home to the headquarters of three of the five largest building societies. Leeds is a major centre for mortgage, corporate and retail finance, insurance and stockbroking. The city is also an important centre for equity, venture and risk finance. Other cities in Yorkshire are also important finance hubs. Sheffield has a strong presence in processing and servicing functions and is strong in legal services. Halifax’s expertise lies in banking.

The region benefits from several top-ranked universities and business schools offering finance and business education. This proximity to universities ensures that local businesses can access a broad graduate talent pool.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive of TheCityUK, said: “Our report reinforces the value delivered by financial and related professional services to the whole of the UK economy. Firms from across the world come to Britain to do business, many first putting down roots in London and then expanding their operations across the country, to regions like Yorkshire and the Humber creating a deeper talent pool of skilled workers that benefits local and national businesses. In turn, strong regional financial centres like Leeds and Sheffield, boost the attractiveness of London as a global financial centre. Maintaining this ecosystem is critical to ensuring the UK remains a world-leading place to do business.”

The report also highlights where the UK’s regions and nations may benefit from shifting trends in globalisation, particularly in relation to reverse-offshoring. As cost-differentials between the UK and other lower-cost overseas centres narrow, there is an opportunity to retain or ‘win’ back middle and back office functions. Digitalisation also presents a great opportunity for the industry in centres across the country, bringing new high-skilled jobs. Such jobs have already added £140 billion in value to the economy in new wages over the past 15 years.

TheCityUK identifies four key areas for policymakers and other key stakeholders to focus on, working in close partnership with the industry, to maintain the industry’s international competitiveness:

  • Rollout intra-and inter-regional partnerships, linking complementary regional clusters and promoting engagement through partnerships and by unlocking investment in infrastructure.
  • Identifying and supporting emerging and disruptive innovation and growing specialist industry clusters across the UK in these skills areas.
  • Enhancing the UK’s education system and ensuring specialist companies have access to complementary skill sets.
  • A stable and predictable business environment, including the adoption of a clear and consistent approach to devolution, to ensure the UK remains open for business from across the world.