Britain is not as good at making things as it could and should be. Nor is it very good, despite the hype, at financial services. Its widely trumpeted “success” is built on turning a blind eye to quasi-criminality in investment banking and to systemic fleecing of ignorant customers in the asset management industry through an opaque and self-serving fee structure.
But Britain does have one trump card. It is the location capital of the world. Britain is the European or world headquarters of 469 global companies, according to the EY Inward Investment Monitor. No other European country comes close: Germany is home to 86 global companies, Switzerland 84 and France 77. The resulting dense concentration of high-end business decision-making spawns whole industries to service it. These include IT, law, accounting, insurance, lawful banking, design and advertising. It represents the unspoken and dynamic core of the British economy worth many millions of jobs.
So, err, given that IT, law, accounting, insurance, banking, are in fact financial services then we’re pretty good at them then, aren’t we?