Belfast among the top cities in the UK for financial services

Belfast has been ranked as the 10th most important financial services city in the UK outside London
Gareth McKeown

BELFAST has been ranked as the 10th most important financial services city in the UK outside London, according to new research.

The report from financial and professional services industry body, TheCityUK highlights the growing financial services sector in the north, which now amounts to around 33,000 jobs, mostly in banking.

And unlike other parts of the local economy, where productivity is a major challenge, Northern Ireland's financial services sector bucks the local productivity trend, accounting for 4.6 per cent of total employment, but generating 5.1 per cent of GVA (Gross Value Added) – worth roughly £2 billion annually.

TheCityUK report says Belfast is the 10th most important financial services city in the UK after London, with around 18,200 employees, generating 10 per cent of local GVA and worth over £1 billion a year. This puts Belfast ahead of a number of English tech centers such as Reading.

The report states that while London remains the UK's largest financial center, the regions outside London make a significant economic contribution, worth around to £94bn, with two thirds of the industry's 2.3 million jobs now based outside the English capital.

A separate report last year from TheCityUK and PwC predicted that Belfast could become be the second fastest-growing financial services centre in the UK by 2025, growing by 25 per cent as part of an industry creating an extra £16bn.

Reflecting on the latest report, PwC Northern Ireland partner, Ian McConnell believes the north is an up and coming market for financial services.

“London will remain a premier location, but Northern Ireland is steadily demonstrating its growing attractiveness as an investment location," he said.

“And post-Bexit, Belfast will enjoy a unique position as part of the UK, but as geographically next-door to Ireland and the EU.

“Belfast's advantages include the availability of skilled labour, proximity to London and Dublin, as well as world-class universities, where PwC has partnered with Queen's University to sponsor a technology degree programme that will further advance the local technology and financial services sector," Mr McConnell added.

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