Find Banking and Financial Services expertise in United Kingdom
The UK is a world leading financial centre. The country has world class financial expertise and skills and broad financial infrastructure with access to international capital. The sector includes financial services companies involved in commercial banking, investment/merchant banking, insurance, offshore services, investment funds, pension funds and numerous other financial intermediary functions. All of the world’s major banks – international or of UK origin – operate in the country. The banks with the largest operations in the country are HSBC, Barclays, Santander, RBS and Lloyds Banking Group. The financial services sector is an important part of the country’s economy, with three quarters of the GDP accounted for by services (2010). The Building Societies Association (BSA) represents building societies and other mutual lenders and deposit takers, numbering some 56 of which 47 are building societies (2012). Discount houses hold an important intermediary position between the Bank of England and the banking system.
Regulation of Financial Services
The sector is regulated by the Bank of England, sometimes known as the ‘Old Lady’ of Threadneedle Street and, in some aspects, by the Financial Services Authority. Amongst other responsibilities, the Bank of England is charged with the management of foreign exchange bureaus and gold reserves and has set the UK’s official interest rate since 1997. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body and was given statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act (2000). The FSA is accountable to Treasury Ministers, and therefore Parliament, though they are operationally independent of government. The FSA regulates the majority of financial services markets, firms and exchanges. Firms which carry out FSA regulated activities are obliged to have those activities authorised by the FSA. The reported score for soundness of banks according The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012- 2013) is 4.6 out of 7. This reflects the global economic crisis of 2007, and puts the UK slightly below the world mean of 5.1.
Development of Financial Services
The United Kingdom ranks in first position in the 2012 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, along with another financial leader South Africa, when it comes to getting credit. It comes 7th out of 183 listed countries in the index in ease of doing business and equals South Africa in protecting investors. The availability of the financial services in the UK is strong with a score of 6.4 (out of a possible 7), well above the world mean of 4.5 according to the WEF Global Competitiveness Report (2012- 2013). This places the UK above the United States and in 3rd position worldwide (out of 144 countries). An impressive 97% of adults over the age of 15 were recorded as holding an account with a formal financial institution in 2011. The affordability of these financial services was also reported to be first-class with a score of 5.3, comfortably above the world mean and equal with the United States and Canada. In 2011, 12% of adults aged 15 and over had taken out a loan from a financial institution. Ranking in a very strong 8th position and above the US, the UK performed well in financing through local equity market.
|Banking and Financial Services organisations in United Kingdom|
|Bank of England||
|Financial Services Authority||
|Lloyds Banking Group||
|Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS)||
|Standard Bank of South Africa||