TheCityUK’s Key Facts about the UK as an International Financial Centre report, released today, reveals that the UK delivered its highest ever trade surplus in financial services of $95bn (£62bn) in 2014.
This was a key contributor to offsetting the nation’s increasing trade in goods deficit. When the estimated trade surplus for related professional services – legal services, accountancy and management consultancy – is also taken into account, this figure climbs to $110bn (£71bn).
According to the report, the UK’s financial services trade surplus is up 4% year-on-year and around double its level a decade ago. It is also more than the combined surpluses of the next three leading countries: the US, Switzerland and Luxembourg.
Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said:
“The UK is the leading exporter of financial and related professional services globally and the continued growth of the industry’s trade surplus is a direct reflection of that strength. Our largest trading partners are the US and other EU Member States, but emerging economies, such as China, the UAE and India as well as other international financial centres such as Hong Kong and Singapore also feature prominently in UK trade.
“The volume of trade with developing countries offers great potential for growth due to their rising importance to the global economy. The ability to deepen trade and investment ties and enhance links with both emerging and developed markets will be central to delivering economic growth now and into the future.”
According to Mr Cummings, at a time when Governments across the world are more focused than ever on growing their economies and creating jobs, the international footprint of the financial and related professional industry and its ability to attract high levels of foreign direct investment can only be assured if it remains an attractive place in which and from which to do business.
“Attractiveness is inextricably linked to competitiveness and we cannot be complacent. This Government should continue to implement bold and ambitious policies that will support its greatest tax paying sector – the financial and related professional services industry – and ensure it remains competitive in the global market. The renewed commitment to the Financial Services Trade & Investment Board (FSTIB) by the Government will also contribute to the industry’s long-term international competitiveness,” he concluded.
Other key facts from TheCityUK’s report include:
• The UK accounted for 41% of global foreign exchange trading in April 2013. More dollars are traded in the UK than in the US.
• London has over 250 foreign banks, more than any other financial centre.
• The UK is the leading derivatives centre globally, with a 49% share of trading interest rates OTC derivatives.
• London has the highest share of international equity markets with more than 532 foreign companies listed in the city on Main Market and quoted on AIM
• London is the leading centre for international bond trading, with an estimated 70% of secondary market turnover.
• The UK is the leading western centre for Islamic finance, home to around 20 banks, six of which are fully Sharia licensed.
• The UK has over 1,400 financial services firms that are majority foreign-owned, from around 80 countries
• The UK is the leading global centre for the provision of international legal services and dispute resolution.
• The UK is Europe’s leading centre for management consulting, growing 8% in 2013.