The bankers have all left and London is . . . Oh, hang on


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The Independent Online

Remember when City lobbyists were telling everyone who cared to listen that London’s future as a financial centre was imperilled by the regulations introduced after the financial crisis and subsequent banking scandals?

They even coined the phrase “banker bashing” and kept banging on about how banks would take their business, and their taxes, elsewhere if we didn’t start being nicer to them. London was supposedly doomed. Doomed I tell you!

Yet the latest figures show that not only is London surviving as a financial centre, it is positively thriving, having snatched back the number one slot from New York, at least according to the think-tank Z/Yen, which conducted a detailed study of 86 cities.

Apparently the City’s resurgent strength is all down to an end to the uncertainty over tax, policy and regulation, post the general election. Although financial companies do still fret about immigration. By which I mean the lack of it, combined with some of the muddle-headed policies being pursued by the Government that make it difficult for them to bring people in.

One has to take these league tables with a pinch of salt. They are very dependent on the criteria used: tweak those and you tweak the rankings. All the same, they do rather suggest the City is more resilient than its lobbyists would have you believe. And that some very necessary regulatory reforms haven’t damaged it to anything like the degree that critics claimed they would.