Firms back London to remain a global financial hub despite post-Brexit challenges, survey finds

Mon 13 Sept 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

city of London

Finance firms believe that London will retain its status as a major financial centre post-Brexit, a new survey has found.

More than two-thirds of respondents in the Lloyds Bank annual sentiment survey said they thought London would not be toppled as a result of leaving the European Union.

The Times reports that almost twice as many firms also believe that the competitiveness of their sector will improve (32%) over the next 12 months, compared to those who think it will worsen (17%).

Diverging fortunes

Of those who were optimistic for future prospects, almost half thought that improved competitiveness would be due to divergence from Brussels regulations.

Adrian Walkling, head of financial services at Lloyds’ commercial banking arm, told the Telegraph: “This year’s survey emphasises the belief in London as a global centre for trade and finance as firms anticipate and adapt to the new regulatory environment.”

UK optimism

Firms were much more confident about British economic growth and the prospects for the sector than in last year’s survey.

Nine in 10 respondents were bullish about UK economic prospects generally, as opposed to just a fifth last year.

Almost a third thought Britain’s economy would do the best of all G7 nations, compared with 7% in 2020.

Over half (51%) expected growth in the financial services sector to improve over the next 12 months, compared with 13% in 2020, and 65% expect British revenues to rise compared with 31% in 2020.

Five-year plan

The survey follows a more gloomy assessment from lobbying group TheCityUK last week, as covered in the IOE&IT Daily Update.

A report from the group said that the City of London had declined relatively against major competitors New York and Hong Kong over the past decade.

It proposed a five-year plan to revive the City’s fortunes, including recommendations for more flexible visa rules, a review of taxes on the financial sector, and a suggestion that all new trade agreements should increase market access for financial and professional services.