Although Hong Kong and Singapore are ranked third and fourth respectively, they are way down the line. The potential of an Asian global financial powerhouse appearing is still “the subject of much conjecture”.

This position is good for London, good for the UK and good for Europe. As the crossroads of the business world, it helps to ensure that Europe continues to be a big player in the investment marketplace. It is not just down to the money people either. London is chock-full of professional advisers for international trade.


For example, more than 200 foreign law firms have London offices. Half of those are from the US, and lawyers in US firms in London bill more than their firm’s global average. This is a reflection of the need to support the increasingly international activities of their clients and also to address the expanding international marketplace for their services.

The US is still the number one source of outward investment, and a lot of that is routed through London. The US is an inward investment cash cow for Europe. In the bumper year of 2000, this represented 41% of all FDI into Europe. With the growth of intra-European investments and new investment sources appearing, such as Russia, India and China, the US share is now down to 27% – still a respectable amount. For the UK, which is the favoured first investment spot for most US companies, the US contribution stood at 37% of projects in 2006, and 31% of total FDI stock.

Technology companies led the investment charge into Europe in the year 2000 and indications point to a similar flow today. The venture capitalists are cash rich and are pushing their companies overseas – following the ‘born global’ approach. Many will be flying into Heathrow, with the UK in effect being an aircraft carrier for US investment, ready to launch into other EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) markets when growth opportunity is spotted.

The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the current talk of the town, but for my money, I am sticking with NYLON as the major route for international investment in today’s market.

Douglas Clark is a director of Tenon techlocate, the London-based location consultancy of the Tenon Group, a UK national firm of accountants and business advisers.