UK leads the world in financial and related professional services exports

A new report by TheCityUK shows that the UK remains the world’s leading net exporter of financial services, generating an industry trade surplus of £68bn in 2017, nearly equal to the next three leading net exporting countries combined (the US, Switzerland, and Luxembourg).

When related professional services, such as legal, accounting and business advice, are added, the UK’s combined financial and related professional services trade surplus was around £83bn ($107bn).

The annual 'Key facts about the UK as an international financial centre 2018’ report reveals about 44% of this trade surplus was generated by trade with the EU, 19% by the US, and 3% by Japan and Switzerland respectively, with the remainder generated by other countries.

TheCityUK report also sets out the facts and figures which underline the value of the UK’s leading net exporting industry.

Anjalika Bardalai, Chief Economist and Head of Research, TheCityUK, said,

The UK is not only a leading global financial centre, it is also Europe’s financial hub. While this will remain the case after the UK exits the EU next year, Brexit has reinforced the UK’s need to strengthen its trade and investment relationships with key nations beyond the EU, such as the US, Japan, Switzerland, China and India.

“The UK currently has a clear competitive advantage in financial and related professional services and it is vital that this position is not inadvertently eroded. The government must be proactive in reinforcing the global attractiveness of the UK as a place to invest and do business.”


Key facts in the report:

  • The UK is the world’s leading venue for foreign exchange trading, with 37% of global market share
  • More than twice as many euros are traded in the UK as in the Eurozone, and nearly twice as many US dollars are traded in the UK as in the US
  • The UK is the world leader in cross-border bank lending, with 18% of global market share
  • The UK is the world leader in international debt securities, with 13% global market share
  • The UK is also in the top three jurisdictions for Interest rate OTC derivatives trading, conventional fund management and also insurance
  • UK banking sector assets are the largest in Europe: UK £8trn ($10.8trn), France £7.5trn ($10.1trn), Germany £6.8trn ($9.2trn), Italy £3.3trn ($4.5trn)
  • The UK’s legal services sector is the largest in Europe and 2nd largest globally. The UK accounts for 6.5% of global legal services fee revenue £659 ($849bn)
  • UK accounting services net exports were $2.5bn ($3.2bn) in 2017
  • The UK insurance sector is the biggest in Europe and the 4th biggest in the world
  • At £2.5trn ($3.2trn), the value of international bonds in the UK is the largest in the world
  • UK assets under management are a record £9.1trn ($11.8trn)
  • The average daily volume of gold cleared at the London Bullion Market Association was 20.7m  million ounces in 2017, worth a total of £20.2bn ($26bn) per day