West Midlands’ BPFS sector gives London a run for its money

West Midlands’ BPFS sector gives London a run for its money

Success story from HSBC

 

BirminghamThe West Midlands’ thriving cluster of large-scale Business, Professional and Financial Services (BPFS) firms is fast-rivalling the sector’s traditional heartland in the UK’s capital, positioning the region as a net importer of young professionals from London.

Major banking and consultancy companies such as HSBC UK – which is celebrating one year since the opening of its new head office in Birmingham – are moving to the West Midlands to capitalise on the region’s rapidly growing economy, deeply-skilled talent pool, and high-value corporate supply chain.

And as more big-name brands flock to join the region’s growing BPFS community, so too are young professionals looking to progress a dynamic career in an accessible location.

Making a statement

Investing £200m in a purpose-built, ten-storey facility at the heart of Birmingham, HSBC UK relocated 1,000 jobs from across its UK and international operations.

In the 12 months since its new head office was established in the region, HSBC UK will have generated £540 million of wealth for the West Midlands, according to new research report compiled by the West Midlands Growth Company.

In the 12 months since its new head office was established in the region, the bank will have generated £540 million of wealth for the West Midlands, according to new research report compiled by the West Midlands Growth Company.

Of the total wealth created, £390 million will have been generated directly by the Birmingham head office and HSBC UK’s other operations across the West Midlands. Meanwhile, nearly £133 million worth of GVA across the region will have been generated indirectly through the supply chain linked to the bank’s services and employees, demonstrating the cross-sector ripple effect of their investment.

HSBC UK’s vote of confidence in the region is reflected across the wider BPFS sector, with 26 other financial services companies investing in the West Midlands since the bank’s new head office was announced, creating an additional 800 new jobs.

Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK, said:

“Birmingham was a natural choice for us thanks to its central location and established business eco-system that includes a critical mass of high-quality talent.

“A year on, it is fantastic to see the positive contribution our head office has made to the local economy and the ripple effect HSBC UK is having not just in Birmingham but across the wider region.

“I’m confident that increasing numbers of financial and professional services firms will follow suit to become a part of this regional success story.”

Rich in talent

The West Midlands is home to more than 43,000 BPFS companies employing 321,000 people, making it the most significant business hub outside of London.

Birmingham has the highest concentration of employment in the Financial and Professional Services (FPS) sector of any regional city, and is home to the largest offices for each of the Big Four – PwC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG – and the European headquarters of major international law firm Gowling WLG.

This growing cluster of firms is fuelling demand for high-end commercial developments. Subsequent schemes in the pipeline include Wolverhampton’s Commercial Gateway and one of Birmingham’s most prominent Enterprise Zone sites – Paradise, which will house PwC’s largest regional office at One Chamberlain Square.

The West Midlands is home to more than 43,000 BPFS companies employing 321,000 people, making it the most significant business hub outside of London.

Discussing the scope of the region’s FPS sector, Matthew Hammond, Chairman of the West Midlands Growth Company and Midlands Region Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC, said:

“The West Midlands’ FPS sector has an extremely advantageous feature in the form of its critical mass. There is a high density of large corporates operating here, serving a client base that is distributed nationally and internationally.

“But it’s also the region’s pool of high-calibre talent that is allowing the sector to thrive here - universities in the West Midlands are consistently ranked in the top ten best institutions in the country.

“Certainly at PwC, the ability to access highly-skilled graduates and apprentices is the lifeblood of the firm. In 2020, we’ll be expanding our Midlands practice to a 2,200-strong team of staff, and this is fundamentally because of the positive experiences we have had working with graduates and apprentices from the region.”

 

Published: 15 August 2019

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