Brexit a threat to UK finance industry’s ‘global crown’

City strength undermined
City strength undermined

Britain has retained its crown as the world’s leading financial centre in 2017, but a leading City lobby group says the UK’s position should not be taken for granted in light of emerging Brexit risks.

A new report by TheCityUK says that Britain topped the charts with a total financial trade surplus of $77 billion (£69bn) last year, which was more than its next closest rivals - the US and Switzerland - combined, at $41bn (£30.6bn) and $22bn (£16bn), respectively.

The UK has also continued to dominate in foreign exchange trading, accounting for 37% of global market share, and stands as the number one location for cross-border bank lending accounting for 16% of the international value, the report explained.

International insurance premium income was also at the top end, with the UK at around 6%.

But Brexit could put Britain’s position in jeopardy.

Anjalika Bardalai, chief economist and head of research at TheCityUK, said: “The UK’s place in the global financial system is unparalleled. London’s only real rival as a full-spectrum, truly global centre is New York.

“However, we cannot take this position for granted.

“Brexit is likely to create some economic friction with our largest trading partner - the EU - and with an increasing number of regional and specialist centres arising in Asia and elsewhere - it is vital that the UK seek new trading and investment opportunities.”

The report comes as the Government works to enter into the next phase of Brexit talks which are set to cover a potential transition period and future trade deal with the EU - just as a number of businesses get ready to push the buttons on Brexit contingency plans.