Regions increasing role in financial exports

The UK's regions and nations are making an increasingly large contribution to exports by financial and related professional services, a new report shows.

UK map lit up to suggest activity by location
The report from the sector's trade body, TheCityUK, reveals that 43 per cent of Britain’s £129.7 billion financial exports in 2020 originated outside London.
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Total exports rose by 8.4 per cent that year, with the South East contributing 9.1 per cent of the total, followed by Scotland (6.8 per cent) and the North West (5.4 per cent).Anjalika Bardalai, Chief Economist and Head of Research at TheCityUK, said: “As London is one of the world’s leading international financial centres, it inevitably leads the UK’s exports of financial and related professional services. But the idea that London sells these services overseas and the rest of the UK focuses on domestic activity is misleading.“Other regions, especially the South East, Scotland, the North West and the East of England, also make important contributions to exports of financial and related professional services, demonstrating the vital economic role the industry plays across all parts of the country.“In addition, as the UK braces for an economic storm, the surplus generated by financial and related professional services provides an important buffer against the risks of a widening trade deficit.”

'All regions contribute to financial services trade surplus'

The report, ‘Exporting from Across Britain: Financial and related professional services 2022’, says that all regions and nations across Britain generated trade surpluses in financial services in 2020.London, of course, had the largest surplus of £34 billion, followed by SE England (£5.1 billion) and Scotland (£4.6 billion). Between 2016-20, London experienced the strongest average annual growth of exports at 13 per cent, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber (12 per cent), the North East (10 per cent), and Scotland (9 per cent).The US was by far the largest destination for financial services exports, accounting for 34 per cent of the total in 2020. In all, 71 per cent of the exports went to non-EU countries, with the remainder heading for Europe.

Financial services driving growth

Publication of the report coincided with the latest 'Financial Services Survey' compiled by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and PwC. It showed that business volumes grew strongly in the three months to September – up 31 per cent after being static in the second quarter.Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said: “While activity in the financial sector looks to be in a good position, with profitability and volumes growth remaining strong, the rapid fall in sentiment and lacklustre investment intentions illustrate the challenging conditions that firms find themselves in.“Recent market volatility stemming from the Government’s 'mini-budget' – alongside other global developments – underlines the clear need to restore macro-stability and boost business confidence."The decision to bring forward the publication of the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) forecasts and medium-term fiscal plan is the right one and can help demonstrate to investors that the UK has a credible plan for stabilising debt to GDP at a sustainable level.”

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