Business Recovery

UK ‘most attractive destination’ for financial services investment in Europe

European foreign direct investment in the sector dropped by 23% in 2020 due to the pandemic affecting business and travel

The UK remains Europe’s “most attractive destination” for financial services investment in Europe, according to EY’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey for Financial Services.

Overall, European foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector fell by 23% in 2020 due to the pandemic affecting business and travel.

The UK reported 56 financial services FDI projects in 2020, which is still the highest in Europe but remains 43 projects lower than the previous year.

However, France has become the continent’s second most popular destination for FDI, posting 48 FDI projects in 2020 which is 11 more than last year.

London remains the country’s most popular destination for investment, with Scotland being viewed as the second most attractive region for investment.

Anna Anthony, UK financial services managing partner at EY, said: “The UK has consistently been the number one location for international financial services investment since EY started tracking FDI levels and market attractiveness over twenty years ago.

“While its lead may have narrowed in 2020, most likely only short-term in response to pandemic-related business disruption and Brexit, investor sentiment suggests that the UK is looking to a strong future, and will continue to outperform the rest of Europe in attracting post-Covid-19 financial services investment.”

She added: “Investors have consistently been drawn to the strength and resilience of the City, its deep capital markets, gold-plated regulatory system and for the innovation and talent it offers.

“Despite the challenges of the last few years, the evidence points to this not only continuing, but growing in strength, ensuring the UK remains a world leading financial services centre.”

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