Europe has absolutely no chance to overthrow the City of London
The index analyzes 65 countries on more than 40 metrics to capture the relative scale of activity in each market. The United States is by far the largest financial center in the world with a score of 84 out of 100, but the UK’s overall score of 35 out of 100 makes it by far the largest financial center in Europe, about three times larger than its closest rivals, France (13) and Germany (12).
Part of the reason the US is so far ahead of the UK is of course because its home market is much larger. When it comes to international banking and finance, the UK is closing the gap, scoring 56 out of 100 against 76 in the US. And – here’s the crux – the UK does about five times as much international business as France and Germany.
I asked the researchers to calculate a few more numbers for me and they found that if the UK was still in the EU, it would have a 42% share of all financial activity in the bloc. In nine out of 21 sectors, it hosts twice as much activity as the whole of the EU27!
This is the stuff of nightmares for Brussels, which has long worried about too much European financial affairs being carried out in London and this is precisely why regulators have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks.
The European Central Bank is said to be particularly concerned about a practice known as âback-to-backâ trading. This technique allows banks to complete a transaction in one jurisdiction but transfer the risk across borders by doing parallel trade in another jurisdiction. EU regulators have also said they will tackle a method known as “chaperoning”, where London-based bankers can technically still work for EU clients as long as they have a colleague based in the block for all calls.
So do New Financial rankings, the eternal cunning of bankers and the growing desperation of EU watchdogs mean the warnings of a Brexit exodus from the City were out of place and we can all relax? ?
Well, yes and no. âIf the UK were to lose 10% of all of its international business (a huge and highly unlikely ‘if’), it would still be several times larger than any financial center in the EU and therefore retain the kind of conglomeration effect that attracts so many companies. Said William Wright of New Financial. “Having said that, the loss of 10pc of business would still mean a big blow to the tax revenue of the Treasury.”