TheCityUK, the industry-led body for financial services across the UK, has appointed its first ever city chair for Leeds to champion financial services in Leeds and across the wider region.
The new chair is Chris Hearld, KPMG’s North region chairman and Leeds office senior partner, who will be a key figurehead for TheCityUK, championing the industry’s considerable local contribution and expanding opportunities for greater collaboration and engagement across Yorkshire.
Leeds City Region is home to 30 national and international banks, the headquarters of three of the five largest building societies and is a base for many of the country’s best known professional services firms.
Leeds itself is a major centre for mortgage, corporate and retail finance, insurance and stockbroking and other cities across Yorkshire have also been recognised as important financial hubs.
TheCityUK said Sheffield has a strong legal services presence and Halifax has expertise in banking.
The region also benefits from several top-ranked universities and business schools offering finance and business education helping local businesses to access a broad graduate talent pool.
Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK, said, “Our industry is a major employer and contributor to the economy of towns and cities right across the country, with more than two thirds of the 2.2 million people employed nationally based outside London.
“The appointment of TheCityUK city chair in Leeds will support our work to champion the industry in the city and across the wider region and help build partnership opportunities to ensure the industry’s success into the future.“
He said that in Leeds alone, financial and related professional services account for over one in ten of all jobs, yet all too often the industry is seen as being London-centric.
“Leeds already has a strong presence in banking, processing and servicing functions and is also an important centre for professional services. I am delighted that Chris has accepted this position and look forward to working closely with him as he heads up this work in Leeds,” he added
Mr Hearld said: “The importance of the financial services and related professional services ecosystem is critical to the Leeds City Region economy, as suggested by the fact the area has been named by the Government as one of nine financial centres of excellence across the UK.
“It’s recognised as a highly productive sector which makes it especially valuable as the country tackles its productivity deficiencies.
“I’m pleased to be an ambassador for an industry that offers such a variety of rewarding careers to a diversity of employees in my home region of Yorkshire and beyond as well as driving prosperity across the city, region and country.”
While London remains the UK’s largest financial centre, recent research from TheCityUK shows that if its vision for the future of the industry is implemented, 70 per cent of additional growth in economic output generated by the industry will come from outside the capital by 2025.
This will be largely driven by the regional and national financial centres having a more prominent role and becoming increasingly specialist financial centres.
TheCityUK is appointing city and national chairs across some of the UK’s most prominent financial and related professional centres such as Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.
These chairs will support the organisation’s enhanced programme of work to promote the strength of the industry and the high-value, high-productivity jobs the industry creates across the whole of the UK.