Press release

Yorkshire’s financial services to be promoted worldwide

The growing financial services sector in Yorkshire is to be promoted as the next ideal investment destination to foreign firms.

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UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government’s international business development department, is to launch Yorkshire as part of the Financial Centres of Excellence initiative.

The initiative, supported by local financial services businesses, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as well as financial services body, TheCityUK, will encourage potential investors to think of establishing offices in Yorkshire rather than just the City of London.

James Wharton MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for Communities and Local Government, launched the event alongside local business leaders at the offices of TD Direct Investing in Leeds (5 February 2016).

Mr Wharton said:

The financial services sector in the UK goes far beyond London and has a powerful presence in the North of England as well. This initiative is a great way of promoting the fantastic advantages of Yorkshire to financial services companies throughout the world.

We will continue to work with local leaders and the business community to make the Northern Powerhouse even more of a magnet to the financial services sector.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, said:

As a strong UK financial centre, Leeds City Region is a prime location for potential investors across the financial sector to consider, as proven by the wide range of global companies we have attracted here. From global banks to financial technology firms, companies are taking advantage of our cost-effective access to the right skills, infrastructure and business networks, and we intend to use the title awarded to us by UKTI to build our reputation further in key international markets.

Giles Searby, Partner, hlw Keeble Hawson LLP and chair of the Sheffield City region LEP’s sector Group for Business, Professional and Financial Services, said:

Yorkshire, as one of the leading financial centres outside London, is the location of choice for any business in the sector seeking a new base in the UK. In Yorkshire businesses benefit from a motivated and highly skilled workforce, a thriving professional community with some of the biggest names in the sector based here, and moreover a quality of life which altogether makes for a compelling case to move to the region.

Mark Robson, Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber for UK Trade and Investment, said:

Yorkshire has always been a great place for innovative financial and professional services, 2 of the largest law firms in the world started here. I am delighted that we can launch this new drive between UKTI’s global network of specialists and our partners to promote the region to new international companies.

Chris Cummings, Chief Executive, TheCityUK, said:

Financial and related professional services are thriving in Yorkshire, employing more than 136,500 people across the region who collectively contribute around £10.6 billion to local GDP. As a Yorkshireman I know first-hand the strength of the region’s banking, processing and servicing functions and it is of course also an important centre for professional services, with many establishing their northern offices in cities such as my home, Leeds. Strong regional financial centres not only deepen the talent pool of skilled workers and benefit regional economies; they also boost the international appeal of London as a place to do business by offering growth opportunities for overseas firms to expand their operations.

John Tracy, CEO, TD Bank Group and Head of TD Wealth International, said:

Choosing Leeds as the location for our European HQ enables us to grow our business in Europe while also delivering value for money. In this region we have access to a large pool of talent, at a lower cost base than London, with the unique mix of digital and financial skills we require.

Yorkshire’s financial service industry:

  • more than 400,000 people work in financial and professional services in Yorkshire
  • financial and professional businesses services contribute more than £14 billion to the economy
  • the sector is forecast to grow by up to 21% by 2022
  • more than 30 national and international banks have a presence in Yorkshire
  • it is home to the UK’s only independent internet exchange outside London
  • Leeds was home to the UK’s first financial technology accelerator outside London
  • three of the five largest building societies are based in Yorkshire and manage combined assets of £60 billion

Notes to editors

UKTI works with UK based businesses to ensure their success in international markets through exports. We also encourage and support overseas companies to look at the UK as the best place to set up or expand their business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world.

Published 8 February 2016