Scotland’s capital has continued to cement its position as a European financial hub, rising up the ranks in a recent index of the world’s financial capitals. The most recent results published by the Global Financial Centres Index reveal that Edinburgh has gained 12 points since 2019, edging it just above Luxembourg and below Chicago to become the 17th most important financial centre in the world.
The index looks at a range of factors, including the skill level of the local workforce, the companies based in the city, and the quality of life available to financial workers. Edinburgh’s unabated rise through the ranks virtually every year since it was launched will likely instil confidence in those hoping to see Scotland thrive as a post-Brexit service hub. Let’s take a closer look at the factors that are contributing to Edinburgh’s transformation into a financial capital of the world.
Home to Financial Giants Worth Trillions
Edinburgh’s most formidable weapons are undeniably the global financial giants that call the city home, that collectively hold trillions of pounds in assets. There is the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which has registered assets of over £723 billion and a global workforce of 67,000 people.
Then there is the elite private bank Adam & Company, believed to manage countless billions in assets. There’s the investment giant Aegon UK, part of the €897 billion Aegon empire. Add to this list the growing number of financial start-ups and multinationals that have set up shop in the city in recent years, and it is clear why so few other cities can hold a candle to Edinburgh.
A Growing FinTech Hub
Many financial sector analysts are quick to predict that the future of the industry lies in FinTech. Given the fact that FinTech ‘unicorns’ such as PayPal, Revolut, and Monzo have gone from basement operations to multi-billion-pound behemoths in less than five years, it’s not hard to see where they are coming from. The recent news that Edinburgh is planning to open what will be the UK’s largest FinTech hub later in the year, is therefore good news for the city’s financial sector.
There are a number of rapidly-growing FinTech sectors that could help boost Edinburgh’s profile. One of these is online trading, with companies offering online forex broker services growing at astonishing rates. Given the rise of independent online financial trading in the UK, it is more than likely that FinTech companies specialising in such services will come to Edinburgh in the near future.
A Highly Educated Population
A crucial metric in the Global Financial Centres Index is the education levels of the local workforce. Fortunately, Edinburgh remains well-placed in the regard, having come out on top as Scotland’s most highly educated city for several years running.
A full 55% of the working-age population of Edinburgh hold an undergraduate degree or higher – a figure that is significantly above the UK average and one of the highest in the entire world. All of this is good news for competitive financial firms looking to hire talented workers to help grow their operations.
An Unparalleled Quality of Life
It’s no secret that financial industry workers tend to be a well-heeled bunch, which is exactly why companies rank the quality of life so highly when decided where to base their operations. In this measure, Edinburgh again makes a strong showing.
The city was recently ranked in a study by Deutsche Bank as boasting the second-highest quality of life in the world, beating out other major financial hubs such as Singapore and Frankfurt that are well known for their pleasantness. Such an accolade should do plenty to persuade future finance workers where to lay down their roots.
Whether Edinburgh will be able to continue climbing up the ranks remains to be seen, but current signs suggest that the future looks bright in this regard.