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Why remaining in the EU is vital for financial services, the economy and women in South East (Archived)

Economic Secretary cautions that leaving the EU could damage the UK’s financial services industry and negatively impact on women looking to succeed.

38,000 jobs in Kent are in financial and related professional services
38,000 jobs in Kent are in financial and related professional services

Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin, visits E2W, a firm headquartered in Kent with global offices in USA, Singapore and Zurich, which helps women manage their financial services careers, to caution that leaving the EU could damage the UK’s financial services industry and negatively impact on women looking to succeed.

As part of the EU the financial and associated professional services sector in the South East has gone from strength to strength. It supports 38,000 jobs in Kent and over quarter of a million jobs across the whole of the region. Financial and insurance services added nearly £13 billion to the South East’s economy in 2014.

With its excellent transport links to the world’s number one international financial centre, London, the South East hosts the largest number of financial services jobs outside of any UK region the capital.

137,000 people work in financial services and there are a further 145,000 jobs in associated professional services in the South East. This is in addition to the roughly 730,000 South East residents that TheCityUK estimate work in the City of London and West End.

The region has its own particular strengths in insurance, retail banking, pensions and investments. Insurers such as Aviva, RSA and Legal and General all have major offices in the region and American Express employs thousands of people in Brighton.

Professional services firms, that provide associated services, also flock to the region. International companies like Deloitte, EY and PwC have major offices in Gatwick, Reading and Southampton.

Being a member of the EU has meant that the UK has full access to the single market - a market of over 500 million customers and an economy over 5 times bigger than the UK’s.

In financial services, access to the single market helped the UK sector to export over £22 billion of financial services to the EU in 2014. This is around 33% of the UK’s total financial and insurance and pensions services exports.

New Treasury analysis shows 285,000 jobs across the UK are linked to financial services exports to the EU. 100,000 financial services jobs are directly linked to these exports, and a further 185,000 jobs are linked to the indirect demand generated in the wider economy as a result of financial services exports to the EU.

Leaving the EU would put tens of thousands of these jobs at risk across the UK.

Around half the world’s largest financial firms have chosen to base their European headquarters in the UK. In 2014, the amount of investment in the UK’s financial services sector, by companies based across the world reached £280 billion - 17% of this was from the EU.

Across all sectors of the economy, almost three quarters of foreign direct investors said the UK’s access to the EU market was an important factor behind the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for investment.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin, said:

This country faces a fundamental choice – whether to remain a member of a reformed EU, or to take a leap into the dark.

The financial services industry in the South East is going from strength to strength, with 137,000 people employed in financial services and a further 145,000 people working in associated professional services. A vote to stay will protect these jobs and promote further economic growth in the South East.

As minister responsible for women in the economy, the Economic Secretary is visiting E2W, a financial services consultancy which helps women manage their financial services careers and connects them with financial institutions who wish to claim the Gender Dividend by retaining them. Now serving clients in major financial services centres in Europe, Asia and N. America a thriving financial services sector in London has been at the foundation of E2W’s success and growth.

E2W have also recently signed HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter committing to improve gender balance at all levels across financial services firms.

At E2W, Harriett Baldwin will talk to staff about the benefits of remaining in the EU for financial services and how the vote on the 23 June will define the opportunities available to women and girls for generations to come.

The Economic Secretary, Harriett Baldwin, said:

For me – as the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and as a woman - the economic argument is clear. Remaining in the EU will offer us and our children the opportunities we need to succeed and protect the public services we rely on now and in the future.

A record one million women lead businesses in the UK. Without unrestricted access to the EU and the 500 million customers it contains, the ability of these businesses to flourish now and grow significantly in the future will be put at risk.

If the UK leaves the EU, we will lose our influence. We will have to comply with EU laws without having a say in how they are made. Women know what it is like to be side-lined. We know that to be truly heard you have to have a ‘seat at the table’.

There are one million more women than men in Britain which means that women have real power to shape the future of our country and be the decisive voice in this referendum.

Co-founder of E2W, Mark Freed, said:

At the very least leaving the EU will mean years of uncertainty in the City. The worst predictions are that it could be catastrophic. For E2W a business that relies on the success of our financial services sector, remaining in Europe and ensuring London’s place as a world leader in the sector is hugely important.

Co-founder of E2W, Tina Freed, said:

Harnessing women’s experience, knowledge, skills and passion for a career in financial services or supporting females wanting to get back into the industry after a break is not only helping companies collect the gender dividend, but is also reducing risk, increasing performance and improving decision making.

The arguments are clear that having a workforce that is gender balanced gives better outcomes. If you are trying to manage risk, then having a gender balanced, diverse and inclusive team helps you manage it better. The Women in Finance Charter led by Harriett Baldwin has set a challenge to the industry to improve the gender balance. The charter is one of the initiatives we support.

Published 17 May 2016