South West

Key sectors in the region include banking and insurance, along with significant security broking and fund management activity. Bristol is the region’s largest financial centre, with 36,500 in employment in the sector, followed by Swindon and Bournemouth with over 11,000 each.


South West EmploymentThe South West plays host to a large cluster of financial, accounting, legal and management consulting firms, which have over 160,000 people in employment and collectively represent 6.7% of the regional employment. The region also houses the back-office functions of a diverse range of businesses, particularly building societies and insurers. The South West economy relies on a strong base of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Bristol is the UK's eighth most populous city and the biggest centre in South West England, with a population of about 450,000. It is the leading financial centre in the area, with over 36,000 in employment in financial and related professional services, about one fifth of total employment in the industry in the South West. The city has a long history of specialising in insurance and banking, and has developed into one of the main UK finance hubs. Bristol is situated on the M4 motorway that links London to Wales and through this it has good road links to other towns such as Swindon and Reading. A supply of highly skilled, employment-ready university graduates has also played a key role in solidifying Bristol’s status as a financial centre.

Financial and related professional services account for around 12% of total employment in Bristol. Swindon and Bournemouth are also large centres in the region, each employing over 11,000 people in the industry. They are followed by Poole, Gloucester, Exeter and Cheltenham, each employing around 6,000 in financial and related
professional services.

The main sub-sectors within the Bristol and wider South West region include; banking and mortgage lending, life and general insurance, and activities auxiliary to insurance and pensions. The wider Bristol area is also important as an insurance centre.

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