Canary Wharf at night

London: An international hub?

Written by on 7th November 2012
Category: City guides

Despite the economic difficulties affecting Europe, a recent article in The Australian suggests that national companies are using the British capital as a base for doing business in Africa’s emerging markets.

2012 has been a great year for London and according to this year’s Global Financial Centres Index it retains its ranking as the world’s top financial centre. So what makes it so attractive for international businesses?

Gordon Innes is Chief Executive of London & Partners, a body that promotes doing business in the city. He told The Australian that the Olympics have showcased London as an international hub. “We have already had a new wave of Brazilian banks, Chinese companies and all sorts of other (foreign) companies setting up here”.

A recent report by the London Stock Exchange suggests that international firms come to the city for its capital markets and good access to support services such as legal, accounting and insurance companies. It has one of the world’s deepest pools of capital and a diverse range of investors; this can enable firms to fund expansion in existing or new markets and to invest in growth opportunities from acquisitions to research and development.

The LSE report also suggests that admission into one of London’s trading markets can boost awareness of the company and provide them with tax benefits.

London’s location is a major attraction for international businesses and its relative proximity to Africa is what has drawn Australian businesses to the city. Its position in the centre of the world’s time zones also means it is one of few places where it’s possible to do business with both the US and Asia within a normal working day.

Over 300 international banks now have a presence in the city and it hosts the European headquarters of 65% of Fortune 500 companies. Whether a firm is a fast-growing start-up or already a global leader in its field, London’s international hub status can take it to the next phase of its development.

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Image: phalinn (Creative Commons License)