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Canary Wharf set to overtake City as London's financial centre

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The mantle of being London’s financial centre will pass from the City of London to Canary Wharf in the next few months, according to research.

The Docklands business district will overtake the capital’s traditional financial sector in the next two months to become Europe’s biggest employer of bankers, research by the Financial Times has shown.

JPMorgan Chase is moving around 8,000 jobs from offices in the Square Mile to its new European headquarters in the Docklands.

It is currently halfway through the process of moving staff from locations around the City to 25 Bank Street, which is the former base of Lehman Brothers in Europe.

Once the move is completed, the total number of jobs with the UK’s 16 biggest banks in Canary Wharf will be 44,500, while 43,300 will be located in the City. Only six of the 16 banks will have their headquarters in the Docklands area, but it will edge out the City by having bigger employers.

Barclays and HSBC are among the big banks to base themselves in Canary Wharf, while US banks Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are also headquartered there.

Canary Wharf’s high-rise office blocks allow businesses to base all their staff in one complex, rather than spreading them over a number of sites, as is necessary in the City.

The Docklands area is also attractive to bank bosses because they can secure rents at around a third cheaper.

The former site of West India Docks has undergone a massive transformation since Canary Wharf was created in the 1980s and 1990s.

Bankers working long hours have opted to make their commute as short as possible by setting up home in areas nearby to the Docklands.

Chainbow chairman and chief executive Roger Southam, who has been managing properties in the Docklands area since 2006, said: “No doubt Canary Wharf has had a huge impact on the Dockland’s residential community.

“We saw a slight glut and capital values fall after the Lehman Brothers’ collapse but, like the West End and central south west London postcodes, property prices bounced and are gaining value once more.

“This makes complete sense. It’s a viable community to have commerce and lifestyle within close proximity to one another. Canary Wharf workers, and most professionals in the financial industry, work way beyond the nine to five so living in the area is almost a prerequisite.

“The recent announcement that Canary Wharf is the ‘new’ City will only have a more positive effect on the residential market. In my opinion, retail and leisure property in the area will also outperform their counterparts in the Square Mile.”




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