The Competitive Position of London as a Global Financial Centre

The Competitive Position of London as a Global Financial Centre - Z/Yen Group, 2005

70 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2020

See all articles by Michael Mainelli

Michael Mainelli

Gresham College; Z/Yen Group

Mark Yeandle

Z/Yen Partners

Adrian Berendt

Z/Yen Group Limited

Date Written: November 01, 2005


In June 2003 the Corporation of London published Sizing up the City – London’s Ranking as a Financial Centre, a report written by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation based on a survey of City opinion of London’s competitive position as an international financial services centre.

The 2003 report compared directly London, New York, Paris and Frankfurt. In order to draw direct comparisons, this report also examines those centres but then expands the scope of the study to cover other financial centres.

The 2003 report considered six main competitive factors (skilled labour, regulatory competence, tax regime, government responsiveness, regulatory “touch” and living environment). This study expands this to 14 competitive factors, with just one question on the issue of regulation instead of the two contained in the 2003 report.

The financial services industry is a major segment of the UK economy and accounts for almost 5.5% of GDP and employs in excess of one million people. The UK has the largest trade surplus in financial services in the world ($25.3bn in 2003, followed by Switzerland $11.0bn). The vast majority of the UK financial services industry is in London. London has long been an important financial centre for a number of good reasons. A trading culture has been maintained since the UK was the dominant trading country in the world in the 18th and 19th centuries. London has a history of openness and a tradition of welcoming foreign traders. The prevalence of the English language has played its part as has the geographical position between the USA and Asian time zones.

However, a successful history is no guarantee of future success – as the UK textile industry demonstrates. New technology and improved communications infrastructure have reduced the need to be close to financial markets and companies are becoming more skilled at managing operations remotely. London is a relatively expensive city to operate from, the transport infrastructure is regularly criticised and terrorism is still seen as a threat.

Can London remain a leading financial centre? How sustainable is the competitive edge that London has enjoyed? Are there likely to be challenges to London’s position as a leading global financial centre? If there are challenges, where will these come from?

This study seeks to examine how competitive London is today and how competitive it might be in the future. We have approached this task by asking individuals engaged in the industry what factors they feel makes a financial centre competitive and how important each of these factors is in the competitive mix. We have then assessed these responses to determine how the main financial centres are rated in terms of each of these factors.

Keywords: Finance, Financial Centres, London

JEL Classification: F01 - Global Outlook, F00 - General

Suggested Citation

Mainelli, Michael and Mainelli, Michael and Yeandle, Mark and Berendt, Adrian, The Competitive Position of London as a Global Financial Centre (November 01, 2005). The Competitive Position of London as a Global Financial Centre - Z/Yen Group, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Michael Mainelli (Contact Author)

Z/Yen Group ( email )

41 Lothbury
United Kingdom

Gresham College ( email )

Barnard's Inn Hall
London, EC1N 2HH
United Kingdom

Mark Yeandle

Z/Yen Partners ( email )

41 Lothbury
United Kingdom
07711434353 (Phone)
EC2R 7HG (Fax)


Adrian Berendt

Z/Yen Group Limited ( email )

41 Lothbury
United Kingdom

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