More than 2 million people in the UK work in financial and professional services
Accounts for 7% of total UK employment

Why Financial Services?

Financial services…
  • are fundamental to every economic activity in the UK;
  • help create jobs,
  • lend and invest in community development projects;
  • help businesses grow; and
  • provide consumer credit.

The financial services sector is a significant contributor to UK income and employment. Over a million people in Britain are directly employed in financial services, and a further million in related services. As one of the largest export sectors in the UK, financial services are fundamental to every economic activity in the UK.

The City of London is one of the most highly ranked financial centres in the world, accounting for just under one third of overall employment in the sector. However, other thriving cities include Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast. Within the EU, the UK is the largest centre for asset management, with almost £4 trillion worth of assets under management and provides direct employment to around 24,000 workers.
One of the largest export sectors in the UK
Although badly hit by the credit crunch, the global economic downturn and more recently the LIBOR scandal, the UK financial services sector remains the most stable in the world. The professional sector is interesting and challenging, with one day rarely like the next. Working in this fast-paced, competitive professional world can be very exciting and rewarding. You might find yourself working for a global organisation, or for a smaller UK-based firm, helping people invest their money.
Northern Ireland
Employs over 31,000 people in more than 1,200 firms. 16,900 people 7.3% of employment in the Belfast alone
West Midlands and the North West
Three main hubs – Manchester, Liverpool and Chester. Contributes £11.7 billion and employs 360,500 people
Wales is one of the UK’s most buoyant and fastest growing locations for financial services and employs over 59,900 people.

Cardiff employs 22,000 people in financial & professional services. 10.8% of employment in Cardiff.
2nd largest financial hub in the UK and is recognised as one of Europe’s leading centres. 60% of the sector’s jobs are based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where several UK banks are headquartered including Lloyds Banking Group, Clydesdale Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco Bank and Virgin Money.

Employs 150,400 people in financial & professional services
North East - Leeds
Employs 40,600 people in financial & professional services. 11.1% of employment in Leeds.
692,500 people are employed in financial and professional services in London.
South West - Bristol
Employs 30,800 people in financial & professional services. 13.8% of employment in Bristol.
Jersey & Guernsey
More than 12,700 people are employed in financial services in Jersey - 22% of total employment.

Finance accounts for 21.5% of total employment in Guernsey, with over 6,700 employed within the sector.
164 financial services firms from the EU are based in the UK
EU banks in the UK hold £1.4 trillion assets - 17% of the total UK bank assets
London has over 250 foreign banks - this is higher than nearest rivals New York, Paris or Frankfurt

The Financial Services Sector offers career opportunities globally

Many financial service organisations and banks are global entities and can offer international career development opportunities, particularly in emerging economies where fluency in a specific language can be advantageous.

The rewards of working abroad, both in terms of professional and personal experience and pay, can be huge. The modern Commonwealth’s big three in economic terms- Australia, Canada and India are important locations for young professional investors spreading their wings abroad.

London has traditionally been the world’s leading financial centre but other cities across the world are vying for this title, as outlined in the table below:

Global Financial Centres Index

Centre Ranking
New York 1
London 2
Hong Kong 3
Singapore 4
Tokyo   5

Source: Z/Yen ( March 2015

9 Centres Likely to Become more Significant

Casablanca | Dalian | Busan | Dubai | Buenos Aires | Qatar | Shanghai | Luxemburg | Kuala Lumpur

Source: Z/Yen ( March 2015


New York is a much bigger market generally than London due to the size of the US economy, however, London is recognised as a global hub for financial services.


Hong Kong and Singapore are powerful global finance players. India continues to grow and is one of the CISI’s biggest exam centres outside of the UK due to the country’s huge investment operations outsourcing.

The Middle East

The Middle East and the Gulf of Arabia in particular, has long been a magnet for British expatriates working in finance from Riyadh in the west to Dubai in the east. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – all have strong affinities with the UK.