Financial services in the Midlands region is expected to grow by up to 25% by 2025, making it the UK’s fastest-growing financial services centre (Research – TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy&) fuelled undoubtedly by the region having the fastest growing economy in the UK in 2017 (GVA growth of 6.8%).
The success of the Midlands professional sectors, with over 100,000 companies, has undoubtedly been fuelled by the highly skilled talent base (over 650,000 financial, legal, accounting, insurance and data analytics employees) and the strength of the region’s academia – over 20 universities, providing nearly 115,000 graduates annually, with 120 Centres of Excellence directly relevant to professional sectors and technology.
Grade A office space within the region is available from as little as £200 per sq/mt, and salary costs are on average 60% lower than comparable roles in London. A Mercer study in 2017 declared the region to have the highest quality of life in the country outside London1, and recent research (CV Library) identified that the Midlands has one of the highest average monthly disposable incomes for employees in the UK (around £1,000)2.
With one of the most diverse populations in Europe, and with London’s extensive financial markets less than one hour’s journey away, the Midlands has become a major international hub for business, professional and financial services and a dynamic location for fintech companies working with them.
Innovation, disruption and transformation have all led to a rise in key fintech sectors across the Midlands such as risk management, cyber, data analytics, reg-tech, investment management, challenger banks, payment and insurance technologies. This has been exemplified by the growth of established businesses and new occupiers from foreign and UK markets including major international companies such as Deutsche Bank (anti-fraud, data analytics); Beazley Insurance (innovation and change implementation technology); Charter Savings Bank, Handelsbanken (challenger banks); TDX (risk management, data analytics); HSBC, Santander, and ASOS (payment technologies).
Market opportunities generated by these major institutions, and the proximity of London’s financial markets, has boosted the growth of SMEs choosing the Midlands as their core location – Regtech world leader Lombard Risk; Australian owned IRESS, wealth management and mortgage tech; HD Decisions, tech solutions for the credit market, together with a large number of start-ups and scale-ups located in accelerators and collaborative work spaces across the region.
Highly skilled technical, financial and entrepreneurial talent within the region is abundant (HSBC recently spoke at WMGC launch event and sadi they had no trouble getting staff – don’t know if Roy can get that quote. According to Telefonica’s report ‘The Rise of the incubators’ the region has the greatest environment for incubators, accelerators, and support groups for high-potential tech companies.