During the past decade, Madrid has increasingly been acknowledged as a leading financial centre in the world. In 2008, Deloitte published a study that positioned the city on a par or exceeding the most established centres, such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich and Geneva, in several areas of finance, banking management and international business.
Madrid has achieved status as a leading global financial centre. Moreover, its economic stability and dynamism make it one of the most competitive areas in Europe in which to invest, work and live. Many reports have highlighted the importance of its business environment, including regulatory and tax frameworks, the availability of qualified personnel, market access and transport infrastructure, as well as the increasingly important factor of quality of life.
Some of Madrid’s figures supporting this position include the following:
• More than 600 financial intermediaries operate in the region.
•Almost 300 insurance companies and pension firms develop their activities in the region.
• More than 8200 companies provide support services to financial intermediaries.
• Some 64% of all investment fund management companies in Spain are located in Madrid.
Some of Madrid’s competitive advantages supporting this position include:
• The strategic geographical location of Madrid, bridging Europe, Africa and the Americas is advantageous. Madrid also has a stable political and economic climate, and benefits from the strength of belonging to the Eurozone and a robust financial centre. Such a combination of factors offer a competitive advantage to any foreign firm that wishes to establish itself in Madrid.
• The prudent regulation and supervision system of the Bank of Spain, which has safeguarded the solidity of the Spanish banking system in these turbulent financial times, and has accordingly been praised by news agencies such as Dow Jones International News, multilateral financial institutions such as the European Central Bank and other central banks as is the case of the Bank of England, is a further asset.
• Madrid also offers interesting incentives as a business centre as a result of its advantageous fiscal system. It also offers excellent infrastructure, a considerable capacity for hotel and leisure establishments, as well as an outstanding quality of life (highlighted by the UK magazine Monocle, in which Madrid was ranked in first place under the heading “Madrid, quality of life and business fusion”, with the review identifying it as the best city in the world to carry out business.
Promoting the city
In order to represent and promote Madrid as a global financial centre, the Madrid Centro Financiero Internacional association was created with the following objectives:
• to promote the consolidation of Madrid as a financial centre;
• to boost international development projects; and
• to channel investor and stakeholder interest towards financial opportunities.
Madrid Centro Financiero Internacional is backed by the major institutions from the financial sector that it represents. The founding members of Madrid Centro Financiero Internacional include Madrid’s Regional Government and Madrid’s Municipality; major financial players such as Banco Santander and BBVA, which are the two biggest banks in Spain and among the 10 largest worldwide; CajaMadrid, the second largest savings bank in Spain; Mapfre, the biggest insurance group in Spain; and the Madrid Stock Exchange.
Besides its founding members, Madrid Centro Financiero Internacional has 20 other principal and collaborating members, some of which lead the worldwide rankings. For instance, Banco Popular, one of MCFI’s principal members recorded the lowest cost-to-income ratio in 2007. Instituto de Empresa, another principal member of MCFI recently ranked sixth in the Financial Times worldwide full time MBA ranking. Similarly, MCFI’s other principal and collaborative members are noteworthy for their leadership, strength and high levels of efficiency.