UK remains Europe's top destination for financial investment

Britain has remained the most attractive destination for foreign investment in financial services in Europe, according to a new study.

New research conducted by EY has revealed that Britain's finance industry attracted 99 foreign direct investment projects in 2016 alone, which was up by five per cent on the previous year and reached its highest level for 10 years.

However, EY also suggested that Germany and France also rose in popularity among foreign investors last year, with Germany securing 39 financial projects for an 18 per cent rise and France drawing in 25 for a 25 per cent rise.

According to EY, the continued attraction of Britain to foreign investors, both in and out of the financial sector, is a surprise to many, who expected the country's vote to leave the European Union to have an impact on its draw in terms of financial investment.

Thankfully, this hasn't been the case, with London continuing to be used by many large international companies as a base for their operations in the EU. However, many of these firms have still developed contingency plans in order to ensure continued access to the EU's single market once Brexit is complete.

For some, plans include moving jobs to European cities to make sure they continue to enjoy easy access, with Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin in the sights of many international banks and other financial institutions.

In fact, Bruno Le Maire, finance minister in France, has revealed that the country is planning to create a court specifically focused on dealing with any disputes that may arise over financial contracts that come under the remit of British law following Brexit's completion.

Away from Brexit, when considering the localised financial investment across the UK, EY found that 69 per cent of the financial projects the country attracted were located in London, compared with just 19 for France's capital. While the Capital remained in first position, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast and Glasgow made up the top five.

In terms of the source of the investment, the US was found by EY to invest the greatest amount in the financial services industry in Britain, with China in second position.

Commenting on the EY report, Omar Ali, UK financial services leader at the international accountancy firm, suggested that Brexit is likely to be considered by any investors with interest in Britain as negotiations with the EU continue to unfold.

"Despite the referendum, UK financial services continued to attract record levels of investment last year. However, the outlook for 2017 and 2018 isn’t so certain," he said.

"We can see from our study that investors have concerns about what Brexit may mean for the future and they want greater clarity on corporate taxation and incentives for foreign investors."

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