City of London joins forces with West Midlands ‘supertech’ cluster

Solihull aerial view

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, will make a virtual visit to the West Midlands today (Thursday) to deepen the partnership between the two cities and harness the full potential of the growing ‘supertech’ cluster in the West Midlands – the first financial and professional services technology supercluster in the UK.

As underlined by the Government last week in the independent Kalifa Review, the fintech sector will have a vital role in driving economic growth and supporting the UK’s strong sustainable recovery. The professional services tech (proftech), like fintech, is an emerging sector with enormous potential to scale.

In his role as ambassador for the UK’s financial and professional services industry, the Lord Mayor will meet with West Midlands firms and policy leaders to identify ways for Birmingham and the West Midlands to capitalise on its success and use London as a launchpad for national growth.

The area is home to more than 53,000 business, professional and financial services (BPFS) companies and employs 340,000 people, making it the most significant business hub outside of the capital.

The region is also home to the largest regional tech and digital cluster outside of London with 72,700 people employed across 12,550 tech and digital companies.

The region’s fintech sector alone, is worth £411.7 million per annum to the West Midlands economy and boasts 122 companies employing around 7,375 people.

The visit will also be used to promote the City of London’s Global UK campaign to position the UK as a world leading place to do business within financial and professional services, which places inclusion and sustainability at its centre.

Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell, said: “Birmingham was once renowned as being the ‘workshop of the world’, and the West Midlands is once again at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery.

“The region’s supertech cluster has huge potential to drive growth and innovation that can benefit households and businesses. Partnership with the City can help these firms access new markets across the globe and tap into new opportunities.

“Now more than ever, we should focus our efforts in making sure this sector’s growth is a success story right across the UK. Close collaboration between our successful fintech and proftech hubs will be crucial to maintaining the country’s role as a global leader in this sector.”

Neil Rami, Chief Executive at the West Midlands Growth Company, the West Midland’s official Investment Promotion Agency, said:

“The West Midlands Growth Company and the City of London Corporation have an increasingly important shared mission to elevate the UK’s status as a world-class destination for financial and professional services. We recognise that together we can offer the global market an unbeatable proposition; a UK gateway of internationally connected infrastructure, a deep-rooted and diverse pool of professionally skilled talent and a broad mix of attractive urban and rural lifestyle options for relocating employers and employees.

“As we prepare for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and with Coventry embarking on a landmark year as City of Culture for 2021, we have a unique opportunity to create an economic legacy for the UK across key target markets worldwide. Through our ongoing collaborative working with City of London Corporation, I’m confident that we can pool our expertise and unique offerings to confidently exhibit the UK as the only destination for innovative financial and professional services firms and as the world’s most dynamic destination to live, work and invest in. We look forward to working in partnership with the City of London Lord Mayor and supporting his efforts as part of the Global UK campaign.”

Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), said: “As the original base for major banking brands such as Midlands Bank and Lloyds Bank, Birmingham has a deep-rooted heritage in financial services. Fast-forward to today, and the region’s professional services sector is still characterised by its inherent technical expertise and international reach, with the city home to HSBC UK’s head office, all of the “big four” accountancy firms and wider ecosystem of FPS firms making up a third of our regional economy. The emergence of dynamic regional initiatives like supertech – the UK’s first professional tech cluster of its kind – offers a glimpse into how the sector will continuously evolve to meet future market needs.

“In partnership with the West Midlands Growth Company and supported by a number of the region’s thriving financial and professional services businesses, we were delighted to welcome the City of London Lord Mayor to our region virtually, where we able to bring our economic success story to life. Our collective role is increasingly important in an era of economic recovery and we look forward to the continued cross-regional partnership”.