Our city and region is ready for you and your business. Explore this snapshot to find out why.
We have regional, national, European and global connections. To keep us ahead £1.3 billion will be invested in our networks by 2015.
Easy access to 400 million people across Europe
90% of UK consumers are within four hours travel time
High Speed 2 rail – London in less than 45 minutes
50 airlines serving more than 140 routes worldwide
Our talented people use their skills and expertise across a range of key sectors.
60% of the UK’s automotive R&D from the region
More BPFS companies than Zurich, Manchester and Edinburgh
23,700 people in architecture and engineering
500 medical technology companies, more than any other UK region
Birmingham was voted best UK city outside of London for quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012).
With more than 600 parks and open spaces and Sutton Park as one of the largest urban parks in Europe there is always space to breathe
Slow down. Explore more miles of canal than Venice
Secure future - 10 Local Nature Reserves and 156 designated nature conservation sites
Indoors, outdoors, participate, watch or find space and quiet to get away from it all. You will always be able to relax and unwind.
Birmingham was ranked among the New York Times’ top 20 international destinations to visit.
Explore cuisine from more than 27 countries and dine in more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside London
More than 500,000 works of art in one square mile
Our large talent pool is highly ranked now. It will stay that way.
4.3 million people of working age within an hour of the city
Over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates within an hour’s drive of the city
A digital hub - for example 21% of the UK's games industry workforce is here
Nearly 1 million people speak a second language
Our £94 billion regional economy will grow 20% by 2020
Innovative economic zones generating £1.5bn and 50,000 new jobs
Home to 75,000 companies, 1,190 of which are international
Our population will grow to 1.17million by 2018 (ONS)
Birmingham New Street helps move nearly 25million passengers annually
Europe's youngest city, with under 25's nearly 40% of our population
We are investing £18 billion by 2026 in a bold 21st Century regeneration plan.
£1.3 billion will be invested in road, rail and air networks by 2015
£25 million is going in to the Digital Media Academy and £188 million on the new Library of Birmingham
A £600 million redevelopment of New Street Station is underway
Business, Professional and Financial Services (BPFS)
The critical mass of talent and resources, unparalleled physical infrastructure and connectivity, as well as prime rental costs up to 50% lower than the capital, have enabled Greater Birmingham to emerge as a leading destination for financial and professional services. The city of Birmingham has the largest regional financial and professional services hub in the UK, employing nearly 95,500 people in over 8,400 companies. The city also has the one of the largest legal services clusters in Europe and the largest accountancy clusters outside London.
The region provides a solution for those firms seeking to relocate major areas of their business currently residing in less efficient higher cost centres, as well as those wishing to consolidate departments spread across multiple locations.
“Birmingham was an easy choice when it came to picking a location outside London. The key factor is the labour market here. We have been able to recruit the highest-calibre teams for compliance, technology and professional services.”
Paul Anderson, Deutsche Bank, Birmingham
Business, Professional and Financial Services (BPFS)
Greater Birmingham hosts the second largest insurance market in Europe. The quality and range of insurance skills here are due to a rich tapestry of specialist and niche operations. The city of Birmingham is one of only four UK cities with over 10,000 Credit and Insurance professionals, and the region is home to major insurance operations such as Allianz, AON, Mercer, Marsh and Zurich.
For historical reasons linked to Birmingham’s development as a major manufacturing centre, the local insurance market has a strong focus on commercial insurance packages (professional indemnity, engineering insurance and other specialisms), but it also offers a wide range of products to other markets.
The region is at the nucleus of one of the largest legal centres in Europe, offering firms the necessary specialist pool of talent for legal operations. In addition there are 14,200 students currently studying law within an hour of Birmingham, with 4 major institutions offering law degrees.
The region has the largest branch of the College of Law in the UK, and the wider region contains major legal departments within institutions including the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Wolverhampton, University of Warwick, University of Leicester and Staffordshire University amongst others. Firms can source graduates who would be available on short-term contracts before commencing their training contracts, as well as Legal Practice Course (LPC) graduates who are yet to secure.
Fintech is technology that engages with or delivers financial services. The rise of Fintech has opened up a world of possibilities enabling businesses to efficiently offer an increasing range of services to their customers.
Greater Birmingham is a hotspot for tech start-ups and SME's, digital programme development centres and large, operational infrastructure functions, providing those services to an increasing number of international locations.
“Without doubt Birmingham was the very best place for us to locate Droplet. We were looking for a welcoming city with great connections to a broad range of industry sectors to test and trial our mobile phone payment platform.”
David Roberts Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Droplet
The presence of some of Europe’s largest Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) providers, with Capita, Serco, Cap Gemini and IBM all having major centres in the region, is testament to the versatility and quality of the professional environment. Furthermore, the ecosystem that has grown around these large organisations provides countless opportunities and the perfect environment for SMEs within the sector to thrive and grow.
The region is a key location for the development of Islamic Finance. The Elshaarani Centre for Islamic Business and Finance at Aston University has been developed as a result of a £1.5 million grant from Dubai-based business Surgi-Tech and aims to establish Birmingham as the centre for Islamic finance in the UK. The EIBF offers postgraduate, PhD, executive and professional programmes at the highest international standards.
Birmingham city centre is at the heart of the region’s financial and professional services sector. The 26 sites which make up the City Centre Enterprise Zone (EZ) reflect the spatial strategy for the area and will accelerate the development of the city centre in order to create jobs, unlock regeneration and grow the city's profile as a leading global business destination.
The vision set out in the Big City Plan is to create and support a globally competitive knowledge economy, the natural home for Europe’s entrepreneurs and wealth creators with an enterprise culture supported by investment in infrastructure. It focuses on those sectors in which Birmingham and the region have a competitive advantage and which can be accommodated in the city centre including financial and professional services, creative and digital businesses and education providers.
To accommodate growth in the financial and professional services sector, the central business district within the city core will expand to take in the Arena Central and Paradise Circus sites. The transformation of Paradise Circus will provide mixed-use development of offices, shops, leisure and cultural facilities together with civic amenities, a hotel and new public realm.
A range of incentives are on offer for investors and businesses including:
More than £148 million of funding bring forward Grade A office accommodation at Paradise Circus, create a development platform at the Southern Gateway to improve the retail and leisure offer of the City Centre, and £15 million to enable the development of other EZ sites (an announcement is due in 2014).
£43 million of investment focused delivering the Metro extension to serve Arena Central and Paradise Circus sites, and world class enhancements to key areas of public realm in the City Centre, including Centenary Square.
Birmingham Curzon - £30 million of investment will be utilised to connect and integrate the delivery of the new station into the City Centre. The delivery of these key projects will support the Enterprise Zone and the wider City Centre.
Relief of up to £55,000 per annum over a five year period for businesses entering the zone before 31st March 2018. *Subject to eligibility.
A Local Development Order in Digbeth and Birmingham Science Park Aston will allow a wider range of changes of use without the requirement for planning permission. A simplified planning regime for the wider EZ area with dedicated resources and streamlined processes to support applicants.
Affordable access to ultrafast broadband.
There are various business support loans and grants currently available to help businesses set up and thrive in the region. These can range from start-up loans to large scale supply chain development grants. To find out more, contact our team here
The Business Professional and Financial Services (BPFS) industry is at the core of the Greater Birmingham region, with 30% of Birmingham’s firms in this sector and over 300 company headquarters located in Birmingham, particularly the city centre. It is the largest regional (BPFS) hub in the UK, bringing in £23 billion (25% of GVA).
Deutsche Bank AG is a German global banking and financial services giant with its headquarters in Frankfurt. It has more than 100,000 employees in over 70 countries, and a large presence in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the emerging markets.
Deutsche Bank opened its first office in Birmingham in late 2006, initially with 30 employees. Since that first investment it has become the region’s largest foreign owned financial services company, employing over 1000 staff in a range of roles in technology, support operations and increasingly front office functions. The Birmingham office now services 500 clients that were previously handled in London across debt, listed derivatives and cash equities, which have generated a 150% increase in profit, and has plans to double its staff levels in the near future.
DTZ’s history dates back to 1784 when the founding predecessor firm, Cheshire Gibson was established in Birmingham. Since then, the company has become a global leader in property services, providing occupiers and investors around the world with industry leading, end-to-end property solutions.
In 2013 DTZ chose to establish its EMEA Financial Control European Centre of Excellence in Birmingham’s Colmore Business District. The critical mass of accountancy talent in Birmingham, coupled with the region’s multi-lingual capabilities (more language graduates than anywhere in the UK and 55,000 commuting multi-linguists), enabled the company to consolidate operations from across the UK, Germany, France and Poland. The project demonstrated the complete package that the region offers, especially in relation to companies that need to service an international client base at both an SME and corporate level.
A growing American law firm that chose Birmingham for its new UK legal centre and announced that it will open a 20 lawyer office in the city. The firm plans to grow to 100 staff citing employment and real estate costs as the reason for the move.
The firm looked at 11 locations around the UK before opting for Birmingham. The office is expected to open in September 2014. All of the lawyers will be hired locally, with Bright pointing out that Hogan Lovells wanted to go somewhere where the talent pool was sufficiently large to find both the quality and quantity of fee earners required.
And while the Birmingham base is certainly designed to save money, Bright says it is also about winning new business. The expectation is that giving clients the option of using the low-cost centre will land the firm new panel appointments.
George Green LLP
Building on its Black Country heritage dating back to 1897, George Green LLP has grown to be one of the region’s leading law firms serving both businesses and individuals within the Greater Birmingham region.
The Cradley Heath based firm has recently opened a further office in Wolverhampton, well placed to support increased economic activity around the i54 Enterprise Zone, home to Jaguar Land Rover’s new engine plant.
Senior Partner, Paul Bennett cites location as integral to the firm’s success.
“The gravitational pull for professional services in cities outside of the capital is now greater than ever. The pool of young and ambitious talent consciously developing careers locally is growing. Local diversity is a real asset in a globalised market.”
“We have lower operating costs than many of our competitors and we are accessible with infrastructure benefits of close rail and motorway links. It’s a recipe for success.”
thecitysecret is an established software engineering and consultancy company working with top tier financial institutions across the financial centres of Geneva, London and Moscow. Opening its Brindleyplace office in the region in 2013, the operation is revolutionising the sector through the development of the Hārchvӓrd platform - which puts powerful tools into the hands of any team managing alternative assets. This is achieved by having all assets in one place, both liquid and illiquid and managed through an easy to use application.
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