Post-Brexit Britain urged to recover world financial leader status

Prime Minister Boris Johnson must shake up immigration system to attract overseas talent, industry chiefs say

The City of London financial district, which industry figures hope will be propelled as a global investment centre in the next five years. Reuters
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The UK government is being urged to help to recover the country's status as a world leading financial centre, and experts said ministers must find ways to forge stronger trade links with partners.

Chiefs at TheCityUK, a London-based financial industry advocacy group, worked with financial firms and business groups on a plan to help post-Brexit Britain spread its influence.

They said that if their strategy were adopted, the UK stood to regain top spot among the international pack within five years.

Their plan focuses on growth of the green economy and a desire to see the UK return to the forefront of technology and innovation.

Over the past decade, the UK has lost ground in global market share in many areas of financial and related professional services.

The drop in performance was attributed to factors that included the growth of new financial centres in Asia and progress by the US.

The group wants UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to streamline the visa process for overseas workers to cut the processing and waiting periods.

This is an important step in attracting talent from around the world, it said.

The plan also called for the tax regime for the financial services sector to be amended to boost foreign direct investment and international recognition sought for UK qualifications.

The group pointed to the nation’s strong competitive advantage in data and technology, ESG markets, international investment opportunities, and risk management.

They said politicians must work closely with industry leaders and regulators to focus on new areas of potential global growth, drive up long-term competitiveness and forge stronger trade links.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to shake up the country's visa application process to attract more overseas talent.  AFP

Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “The UK’s financial and related professional services industry is a strategic national asset which provides millions of high-value jobs right across the country, attracts inward investment, contributes significant tax revenue and generates large export surpluses.

“Being host to the world’s leading financial centre provides large and widespread economic benefit to the UK – which is why there is no shortage of competitors seeking to grow their own financial centres.

“One of the greatest risks for any successful financial centre is complacency," he said.

“Europe is littered with cities that were once the leading international centre of their day. The last decade has been one of growth for our industry, yet global competitors have grown faster.

“However, with the right strategy in place and a clear focus on delivery, the UK can pull away once again from its competitors. It is an ambition that needs industry, government, and regulators to work together. It will take sustained focus, co-operation and determination.”

Updated: November 22, 2021, 8:30 AM