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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-02-28

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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North West hosts vital financial and related professional services hubs

A new report out from 'The City UK' underlines the important role UK based financial and related professional services play in underpinning prosperity in the North West.  Of the 2.2 million people working in the industry, the majority (1.5 million, or around 66%) work outside London, 215,000 of them based in the North West. This makes the region the second largest financial and related professional services centre outside of London in terms of employment. In total, the industry represents around 6.6% of the region's employment, and contributed 7.3% or (₤11.5bn) of the region's Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2015.

The City UK's report – 'Enabling Growth across the UK' – shows that while London remains core to the industry's strong position, major centres like the North West play a key role in maintaining the UK's place as the world's leading financial centre. Overall, 21 Towns and cities across the country have in excess of 10,000 people in employment in the industry including Liverpool. Manchester is 1 of 5 major centres across the country with more than 30,000 people employed in financial and related professional services.

The region is a particular centre for asset and wealth management, management consulting and accountancy. It also has expertise in several fast growing areas such as the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listings, venture capital investment, public private partnerships, private wealth management, and maritime and environmental law.

The North West is also home to the largest legal centre in the UK after London and has a high proportion of the top 100 law firms outside of London. Employers in the region have access to a large pool of financial, accountancy, business management and legal graduates from North West universities, including Manchester Business School and Lancaster University Management School, as well as Manchester's College of Law.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive of The City UK, said:- "Our report reinforces the value delivered by financial and related professional services to the whole of the UK economy. Firms from across the world come to Britain to do business, many 1st putting down roots in London and then expanding their operations across the country, to Cities like Manchester and Liverpool, creating a deeper talent pool of skilled workers that benefits local and national businesses. In turn, strong regional financial centres like the North West, boost the attractiveness of London as a global financial centre. Maintaining this ecosystem is critical to ensuring the UK remains a world leading place to do business."

The report also highlights where the UK's regions and nations may benefit from shifting trends in globalisation, particularly in relation to reverse off shoring. As cost differentials between the UK and other lower cost overseas centres narrow, there is an opportunity to retain or 'win' back middle and back office functions. Digitalisation also presents a great opportunity for the industry in centres across the country, bringing new high skilled jobs. Such jobs have already added ₤140 billion in value to the economy in new wages over the past 15 years.

The City UK identifies 4 key areas for policymakers and other key stakeholders to focus on, working in close partnership with the industry, to maintain the UK's international competitiveness:-

Rollout intra and inter regional partnerships, linking complementary regional clusters and promoting engagement through partnerships and by unlocking investment in infrastructure.

Identifying and supporting emerging and disruptive innovation and growing specialist industry clusters across the UK in these skills areas.

Enhancing the UK's education system and ensuring specialist companies have access to complementary skill sets.

A stable and predictable business environment, including the adoption of a clear and consistent approach to devolution, to ensure the UK remains open for business from across the world.


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