300 miles from London – a new financial powerhouse

Carlisle Citadel

The City of London no longer stands alone as the financial capital of the UK, according to a new study which places the likes of Salford and Carlisle alongside them.

Researchers analysed ONS data on the total number of businesses present across more than 400 districts, counties and unitary authorities and compared them to the number of businesses in the finance and insurance sector, looking for the highest concentration of finance companies.

While the City ranks first, with 22,305 total businesses – 3,400 of which are within the finance and insurance sphere – Salford in Greater Manchester, came second with 1,450 of finance businesses out of 10,910.

Finance and insurance businesses are actually the most prominent in the area, followed by professional, scientific & technical ones with 1,315 businesses, and construction companies with 1,170.

Cumbria’s county town, Carlisle, comes in third, with 5,180 businesses, 625 of which are finance and insurance, although the industry that counts the most businesses is agriculture, forestry & fishing, precisely 765.

Further down on the list, the Borough of Waverley is fourth. Located in Surrey, Waverley counts 8,235 businesses overall, 810 of which belong to the finance & insurance industry. Finance and insurance businesses are only the fourth most common in the area, after professional, scientific & technical ones (1,855), construction (900), and information & communication (865).

The top five closes with Stevenage, in Hertfordshire. The city counts 3,185 total businesses, 275 of which are finance & insurance.

Cambridge river sceneA spokesman for CMC Markets which conducted the research, said: “It is interesting to see how, apart from the locations within London present on the list, the other finance capitals of the UK are situated in less obvious areas, such as Salford and Carlisle – or Blaby in Leicestershire, which places eighth.

“This proves how the UK is fairly balanced when it comes to financial businesses, and there are clearly plenty of opportunities for people seeking a career in the sector without having to move to London.”

The provincial approach even extends further into the graduate job market. While most finance graduates set their sights on London, other cities have multiple entry-level positions in finance for individuals looking to avoid the high cost of living in the capital.

Financial services provider CMC Markets  analysed data from major Indeed and Linkedin job sites and identified Cambridge (left) as the city with the most entry-level finance job openings per capita, even more than London, with 13.5 jobs per 100,000 people.

The city with the second highest number was Oxford, followed by Norwich, Birmingham and Bristol, with Brighton, Leicester, Edinburgh and Leeds coming hard on their heels.