The UK will stand the test of time

Among the financial centres of the world, London continues to perform well against the growing instability and deteriorating economies of some other capitals.

While only 13% of the UK population live in London, it is responsible for 23% of the UK economy, and continually adds to the nation’s wealth, where in 2016 the capital contributed £32.6 billion more to the national purse than it took out. The UK’s resilience in the face of Brexit and the Coronavirus will be further tested no doubt but to date it has held up remarkably well and suggests there will be opportunities for overseas business and finance.

Hong Kong was another prime location for financial services and its economy was rated the freest in the world from 1995 through 2019, however its political and social issues are denting its reputation as a city for new business propositions. Doubts about Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017, have surfaced and businesses have begun to relocate. Goldin Financial withdrew a bid of HK$11.1 billion for the Kai Tak seafront plot, HSBC recently scrapped their minimum balance on savings accounts to stabilise its deposit base, and more recently Deutsche Bank cut a large number of jobs in Hong Kong as part of its global restructuring. Moodys, an international finance research service, identified Hong Kong’s deteriorating economic autonomy in the run-up to 2047 as a risk that could result in decreases of the city’s credit rating in the future. Aside from this, the city’s continued civil unrest and China’s National security law aimed at reducing Hong Kong’s freedom is creating a city which many residents and nationals want to leave.

The US also attracts people from all over the world, especially with New York being the world’s biggest financial centre with two of the largest stock exchanges in the world. However, there too, the political situation and reaction to the Coronavirus crisis is raising questions. Trump inspires much less confidence globally and receives more negative marks than many other current world leaders. His foreign policies are deeply unpopular outside of the US too.

Multinational corporations in these countries will be considering moving their headquarters to other financial centres such as London and Singapore if tensions continue to create problems. Capitalism needs the rule of law and in Hong Kong it is crucial if foreign banks and bankers are to feel safe and comfortable. Without it, eyes turn to capitals with heritage and regulations that promote social stability. Even in international disputes, London is very often the go to destination for nationals outside the UK to settle disputes between themselves.

The UK provides a variety of immigration opportunities, for families, those looking to study, and those wanting to invest, along with London and other cities in the UK such as Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Oxford providing a great living standard, culture, and links to jobs in or out of London. These things never go out of fashion.