Brexit and UK competitiveness

It’s been six weeks since the EU Referendum delivered a result which surprised many—but by no means all—in the City. It will of course be many more weeks—and months, perhaps even years—before the full contours of the UK’s new relationship with the EU are known. But even at this early juncture, the financial and related professional services industry is quite clear on some of the long-term issues.

TheCityUK noted after the Referendum result was announced: “It is vital that action is taken to reinforce the global competitiveness of the UK as a place in which and from which to do business.”

New research that we published today with the support of McKinsey & Co offers an extensive analysis of factors that are likely to affect the industry’s long-term competitiveness. It takes as its starting point the premise that the financial and related professional services industry is a national asset for the UK, because it is a vital component of the economy and driver of growth. (We have made the same assertion and highlighted the supporting facts in our Key Facts research.) 

This is, of course, a structural factor. But the vote to leave the EU has amplified the potential competitive threats the industry faces, and lent more urgency to the need for proactive measures to maintain and enhance the UK’s competitiveness as the leading global financial and related professional services hub. Our new research translates these proactive measures into specific policy recommendations grouped into five areas that are presented as foundational pillars. These cover:

  1. Enhancing the global nature of UK FRPS, focusing on major emerging markets, and on developed markets outside the EU, as well as the EU nations themselves
  2. Ensuring the industry’s continued contribution to economic growth and job creation in the UK
  3. Expanding the breadth and depth of industry services and segments
  4. Building on the UK’s strengths in FinTech
  5. Boosting skills and attracting the best talent

There is also another, broader pillar, which is to ensure that the overall business environment supports the competitiveness of FRPS.  Our new report describes this as “maintaining secure foundations for the industry”, and it encompasses things like incentivising and attracting FDI and investing in infrastructure—both hard infrastructure and digital connectivity.

Brexit and UK competitiveness