Almost 90% of global financial services investors are planning to establish or expand operations in the UK in 2022, according to EY’s latest UK attractiveness survey, representing the highest level of confidence since EY started attractiveness analysis*.
Sentiment around planned investment into UK financial services has risen significantly in recent months, increasing from 50% in last spring’s survey and picking up considerably on the low of 11% recorded in 2019 before the onset of the pandemic.
Financial services firms constantly review their operating models and strategies, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a wholesale reassessment of virtually every aspect of a company’s business, including its investment plans. Forty-one per cent of global financial services firms surveyed in November 2021 said that the pandemic has meant they are planning to increase their investment in the UK, with 8% planning a substantial increase. This is markedly higher than in the spring of 2021 when only 6% said they were planning on raising their UK investment level.
In addition, 90% of global financial services investors now think the UK will retain the same level of attractiveness or improve over the next three years, up from 75% in spring 2021 and 50% in spring 2020.
ESG a priority for investors, with large majority saying the UK offers the right environment
More than half (59%) of global financial services firms surveyed by EY said ESG was either the top priority or within the top three priorities of their board’s investment strategy, and only 3% claimed ESG was not on their priority list at all. Furthermore, 87% of respondents said the UK offers the right environment for ESG investment.