Financial and related professional services exports see solid growth across Britain

08 November 2023

Financial and related professional services exports from across Britain grew by 3.1% in the year to 2021 (latest available data), according to a new report from TheCityUK, with growth experienced in every region and nation, with the exception of Wales, London and the East of England.

The report, ‘Exporting from across Britain 2023’, reveals that in 2021, industry exports reached £134.7bn – approximately £25 in every £100 of exports income in Great Britain. It will be launched today in Liverpool at an event during the Department for Business and Trade’s International Trade Week.

Nearly half (47%) of that contribution originated outside London, with the South East, Scotland, the North West making the largest export contributions at 10.7%, 6.8%, and 6.6% respectively.

According to the latest data, the majority (78%) of British financial and related professional services exports went to non-EU countries, while the EU accounted for the remaining 22%. The US was by far the largest destination, accounting for 34%, with other leading destinations including Luxembourg (6%), Ireland (5%), France and Germany (4% each) and Canada (3.4%). Overall, the UK is the world’s second largest exporter of financial services, after the US.

Anjalika Bardalai, Chief Economist and Head of Research, TheCityUK, said, “Financial and related professional services make a significant contribution to the UK economy through their exports. In 2021, industry exports rebounded in most British regions and nations, following declines during the pandemic in 2020.

“With nearly half of all financial and related professional services exports coming from outside London, it is clear that the notion of London being the only place in the UK catering to international markets is a fallacy. The data also underline the significant contribution the regions and nations play in making the UK one of the world’s leading international financial centres.”

Minister for Exports Lord Offord said, “The UK is a services superpower, hitting over £400 billion in exports for the first time last year. But we want to see even more businesses exporting so we can hit our ambitious target of £1 trillion of exports a year by 2030.

“We’re backing British businesses by knocking down trade barriers, signing new trade deals, giving expert advice via our Export Support Service, and funding through UK Export Finance – our award-winning export credit agency.”

In its report, TheCityUK sets out a series of policy recommendations where industry, government, and regulators can work together to support all parts of the country to continue to grow their export potential. These include:

  1. Improving trade information accessibility
  • Enhance access to holistic, high-quality market intelligence and trade advice for potential exporters.
  • Involve devolved leaders across the UK’s regions and nations in developing a centralised tool to promote and attract investment into critical project in their areas.
  • Improve data collection on services trade to enable policymakers to better understand where growth opportunities lie.
  1. Expanding the UK’s global financial and related professional services opportunities
  • Leverage the UK’s status as a leading services exporter to promote service liberalisation in international forums.
  • Focus on enhancing regulatory coherence with developed markets and deepen ties with emerging economies, such as China, India, Indonesia, and the Gulf states.
  • Emphasise the necessity of regulatory cooperation with trade partners to address regulatory divergence and remove bilateral trade frictions.
  1. Building UK leadership in future demand areas

        UK-based businesses and government should work together to:

  • Transform the UK into a global hub for data and technology, using trade and investment policy to position itself at the forefront of technology and innovation within a more integrated global digital market.
  • Position the UK as the world’s premier gateway for international investment opportunities through reform of the UK's listings regime.