The strength of the UK’s financial services sector will not be diminished by Brexit with international businesses more focused on the longer-term picture, the Lord Mayor of the City of London has claimed.
Charles Bowman told The Yorkshire Post that the fundamentals of UK’s financial sector in terms of its innovation and culture were “difficult to replicate” and that having successful regional centres like Leeds and York gave the UK had a competitive advantage.
Mr Bowman is the 690th person to hold the office of Lord Mayor of the City of London, one which requires its occupant to promote the entire country’s financial sector to the globe.
The Lord Mayor, who will spend 110 days of his year-long term in the role abroad and who will visit Leeds and Sheffield this week, said: “One of my key objectives across the 30 countries I will visit this year is providing a sense of reassurance that UK financial and professional services will remain the preeminent and the only single truly global hub, centred obviously in London but with a strong regional component.
“It will remain that way into the future.
“Yes I get asked questions about Brexit but most counties across the globe are looking longer term at what the country possess in terms of our fundamental and are looking to invest as a consequence of those longer term fundamentals.
“These are fundamentals which are quite difficult to replicate, if they could the would but hitherto the haven’t and as long as we are not complacent, they won’t.”
Mr Bowman’s visit comes as a report from the Centre for Cities, produced with the City of London Corporation, showed financial services in Leeds and York account for a significantly higher proportion of exports than London. The sector provides for a third of Leeds’s total exports and 71 per cent of its services exports, employing more than 25,000 people.
“UK financial services is not London alone, very far from it,” said Mr Bowman.
“Every time I am overseas I talk up the national jewel we posses and Leeds forms a critical part of that jigsaw, with some 25,000 people employed in its financial sector, more than half of which are high skilled jobs.
“You have a great and growing specialism combined with the great skill and development through the higher educational frameworks. It is one of the important growing hubs.”
Mr Bowman will also use his visit to talk up his mayoral theme of improving trust in the financial sector.