Banking and Capital Markets

The world's banking capital

The UK's Offer

  • London is the leading centre for international bond trading with around 39% of global secondary market turnover
  • The UK's trade surplus in financial services is nearly equal to the next three leading net exporting countries combined (the US, Switzerland, and Luxembourg)
  • The UK ranks number 1 in Europe for Islamic Finance according to the Islamic Finance country Index 2018
  • The world's first choice for foreign exchange
  • A truly global banking industry

An industry with global reach

From capital markets to retail banking and wealth management, the UK has an undisputed leading proposition. It benefits from the cluster effect in the City of London, and draws on world-class expertise and capital raising capability.  A truly international market, around half of UK bank balance sheet reflect international ownership.

It is an exciting time for the industry, and a period of unprecedented change with new technologies having a transformational impact across the sector. At the cutting edge of data management, the shift of fintech into mainstream banking, the modernisation of core infrastructures, and the adoption of AI - the UK is at the forefront of the evolution of the sector. 

Download factsheet

The world's global banking centre

Around 250 foreign banks have UK branches and there are more bank head offices in the City than anywhere else in the world. The UK is the world's leading centre for foreign exchange trading, with more dollars and euros traded in London than in the US and the Euro-area respectively  

Read more

Forex for the world

London is responsible for $3.6tn in daily forex - this is more than two fifths of worldwide trades. That is more than the next four largest centres - New  York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo - combined. 

  • New York:  $1.4tn
  • Singapore: $633bn
  • Hong Kong: $632bn
  • Japan: $375bn


UK banking sector assets

at the end of 2017, making it the fourth largest banking centre in the world and the largest in Europe


US dollars traded

More than twice the amount of US dollars are traded in the UK than traded on the US foreign exchange market


Euros traded

Four times the amount of euros are traded in the UK than in all euro-area countries combined


of global secondary market turnover in 2017

makes the UK the leading centre for bond trading


of global foreign exchange trading

more than any other centre in the world


of the outstanding value of international bank lending

The UK is the world's largest centre for cross-border banking

Leading international banking services

UK is the largest offshore renminbi centre - accounting for a third of offshore renminbi foreign exchange activities outside of China. 

Ranked first in Europe for Islamic finance according to the Islamic Finance Country Index 2018, the UK has twice the number of institutions offering Islamic finance services than the US, and is far ahead of any other western country. 

Assets of UK-based institutions that offer Islamic finance services totalled around $6bn (equivalent to £4.7bn) in 2017.

A future-ready banking system

The Bank of England has found the UK banking system to be resilient to more severe stress tests than the global financial crisis.  

The UK banking sector is a dynamic mix of large retail banks, established challengers, digital challengers and fintechs. Changing consumer demands and technology are reshaping the retail banking sector. Challenger banks, fintechs and new market entrants are helping reimagine the sector’s retail propositions.

A new breed of customer is now demanding seamless digital delivery, excellence in customer service and greater personalisation. The impact of technology will continue to grow. Automation and artificial intelligence will deliver increased cost savings and improved operating efficiency.

World leading market infrastructure

The London Stock Exchange is one of the largest and most international globally, and AIM is the leading international growth market

World leading market infrastructure

Serving the world

Five fully Sharia compliant banks licensed in the UK, more than any other Western country.

Serving the world

"London is extremely important because it is an international hub not just for finance but increasingly also for tech and other industries."

Omar Majid, Director Salonica Group

"London is a magnet to companies and international banks seeking to sell their products and services across the EU – its role, global influence and diversity are unmatched by any other city. It is an excellent centre from which to expand our EMEA presence more broadly, and our interaction with North America."

Xinhan Xia, Chief Executive China International Capital Corporation

Partner story

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation: 'The most sophisticated financial infrastructure in the world.'

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation: 'The most sophisticated financial infrastructure in the world.'

Partner story

Salonica Group: 'In London you can pretty much find anyone with any kind of intellectual strength that you want.'

Salonica Group: 'In London you can pretty much find anyone with any kind of intellectual strength that you want.'

Everything you need

The UK offers you everything you need to grow your business.

We have a global outlook, which means we understand your business needs. The depth and breadth of our offer mean unparalleled opportunities for you to grow. Innovation is what we do - creating an inspirational ecosystem where you can thrive. 

Choose the UK