'˜A focus on local decision making will boost financial services'

BOSSES at Yorkshire's financial services firms are being urged to offer graduates and apprentices the prospect of promotion in order to ensure the region remains competitive on a global scale.

Miles Celic of TheCityUK

A report from TheCityUK concluded that Yorkshire continues to be an important region for financial and related professional services, with 133,000 people employed in the industry in 2016.

However, this was less than the 141,000 people who worked in the sector in 2015. TheCityUK’s ‘Enabling Growth across the UK 2018’ report shows that, while London remains the country’s largest financial centre, the industry is a national asset, making a significant economic contribution to the UK’s regions.

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A spokesman said: “In Yorkshire and the Humber this was £8.1bn in 2016 and collectively across the country this amounted to £174bn, with two thirds of the 2.3 million industry jobs based outside London. Yorkshire has a strong presence in banking and is also an important centre for related professional services.”

Leeds is the region’s largest financial centre, employing around one quarter (28 per cent) of the region’s workforce in the industry. Sheffield and Bradford together account for a further 20 per cent.

Miles Celic, the chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “One in every 14 British jobs are in financial and related professional services. These ‘City jobs’ aren’t just confined to London, they’re in financial clusters all across the UK, in cities such as Leeds, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester.

“The ongoing strength of our financial centres across the country underlines what a national success story this industry is.

“Building on this success will need a supportive business environment and greater emphasis on local expertise and local decision-making. A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t be good enough.”

Chris Hearld, TheCityUK city chair for Leeds and North Region chairman and Leeds office senior partner at KPMG, said: “Financial and related professional services are absolutely vital to our area, with companies employing a huge number of people across a diverse industry offering, including a thriving FinTech community.

“One of our key challenges is to ensure that Leeds City Region can offer apprentices and graduates more than their first job, but also genuine prospects for progression and the promise of a career.”

According to the report, the biggest financial centres outside London are Edinburgh and Manchester.

In terms of specific sectors, Manchester is the UK’s biggest legal services and management consultancy centre, after London.

Outside London, Watford has the biggest accounting cluster and Glasgow is the biggest insurance centre.

TheCityUK recently appointed a network of chairs in cities including Leeds, Manchester and Cardiff, to promote the financial services industry on a global scale.

In Yorkshire, Leeds has the largest number of people working in financial and related professional services jobs.

Altogether, 36,975 people in Leeds work in the sector. In Sheffield, the sector employs 18,700 people and in Bradford the figure is 8,310.

Other significant centres for financial services in the region include Halifax, where the sector employs 7,510 people and York, where 6,755 people work in financial and related professional services.