UK still world’s top financial services exporter

The UK is still the world’s leading exporter of financial and related professional services, according to a compendium of economic statistics published today.

In 2016 the UK-based industry netted a total trade surplus of US $93.6bn (£69bn), figures compiled by TheCityUK show, more than the next two leading countries, the US and Switzerland, combined.

TheCityUK said the achievement underlines the tremendous value of the industry to the UK economy, making it a true national asset.

The report, ‘Key Facts about the UK as an International Financial Centre 2017’, underscores many of the facts which make London and the UK the world’s foremost financial and related professional services centre.

Britain is the world’s leading centre for foreign exchange trading (37 per cent global market share); it is the number one location for cross border bank lending (16 per cent global market share) and also for international insurance premium income (6 per  cent global market share).

The UK legal services sector is the largest in Europe and second only to the US globally.

Anjalika Bardalai

Anjalika Bardalai, chief economist and head of research at TheCityUK, said: “The UK’s place in the global financial system is unparalleled. London’s only real rival as a full-spectrum, truly global centre is New York. However, we cannot take this position for granted. Brexit is likely to create some economic friction with our largest trading partner - the EU and with an increasing number of regional and specialist centres arising in Asia and elsewhere - it is vital that the UK seek new trading and investment opportunities. While markets like China and India are growing fast, trade flows are still relatively small, indicating potential for the future.”

As well as bringing together the latest economic data on sectors such as banking, insurance, fund management, legal services, accounting and many more sub-sectors, the report also provides an insight into the UK’s financial services trade and investment relationships with markets such as the US, China, Japan and India. While the US and the EU remain the two most important markets for the industry’s exports, developing markets also show high growth potential.

Other key facts from the report included:

  • UK banking sector assets are the largest in Europe at US$8trn (£5.9trn)
  • UK accounting services net exports were US$1.6bn (£1.2bn)
  • The UK accounts for 7 per cent of global legal services fee revenue. Between $580bn and US$640bn (£428bn-£472bn)
  • The value of international bonds in the UK was US$2.9trn (£2.14trn) in 2016. The largest in the world.
  • There are a record US$11trn (£8.1trn) in assets under management in the UK
  • On average US$24.3bn of gold and US$3bn of silver is traded every day at the London Bullion Market Association