The UK has maintained its position as the top country in Europe for financial services FDI between 2015 and 2018. Figures from fDi Markets highlight that in 2018, the number of financial services projects into the UK peaked at 102 projects. Germany followed with 55 projects, and Ireland and Spain both gained 31 projects each.
Between 2015 and 2016 there was a 3.75% increase in financial services projects into the UK, from 80 to 83. The country witnessed a decline between 2016 and 2017 (-7.2%), coinciding with the 2016 referendum and uncertainty over Brexit. While Brexit has raised some doubt regarding FDI into the UK, it appears that the financial services sector has seen less impact than first thought, with the number of FDI projects increasing 32.4% between 2017 and 2018 to 102 projects.
In 2018, London was the top UK city for financial services projects, winning 77 of the 102 projects (75.49%), with Edinburgh and Manchester following behind. The top motive for investing in London was its proximity to markets or customers (47.5%), with 19 out of 77 projects that identified a motive citing this as a key reason for investing in the city. Other top motives were London’s regulatory environment (25%) and its industry cluster (25%).
The US has maintained its position as the top investing country into the UK’s financial services sector between 2015 and 2018. It created 27 of the 102 FDI projects recorded in the UK in 2018, with Florida-based Raymond James Financial creating three projects in the UK throughout 2018.
With a new deadline for the UK leaving the EU set for October 31, 2019, it remains to be seen whether the UK financial services sector will suffer. There is existing uncertainty as to how the sector will operate once the UK leaves the bloc. This has led several of the largest investment banks in London, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, to move a significant proportion of their operations into mainland Europe.