The City remains at risk of losing its competitive edge

 (PA) (PA Wire)
(PA) (PA Wire)

Few would dispute that the City of London has enjoyed a remarkable golden era since the Big Bang reforms of the Eighties triggered a revolution that made the capital the undisputed number one international financial centre. But is that reign coming to an end?

A new survey today from the Square Mile’s own governing body and local authority the City of London Corporation shows New York drawing level in the global rankings.

Perhaps more worrying, other major rival cities, such as Singapore, Frankfurst and Paris, are gaining ground on London.

London continued to perform strongly in areas such as resilience and business infrastructure, talent and skills, and regulation.

But today’s report comes after the City’s collective pride was severely dented by a number of big companies choosing to list on US exchanges. This is a major “canary in the mine” indicator of London’s competitiveness that does not bode well for the future.

Jeremy Hunt has promised to come back with proposals in the Autumn Statement. You can’t help feeling that more urgency is required.

The Corporation does not explicitly mention Brexit in its report but does flag up serious concerns about attracting the top talent it needs — about 40% of its workforce is from overseas. Few doubt Brexit is part of that story.

The Corporation’s leadership under Chris Hayward has understandably concentrated much of its energy on revitalising the City after the trauma of two years of lockdown. But it cannot lose sight of the worrying threat to London’s status as a global financial centre.

As Hayward himself warns today “our competitive advantage is at risk”.