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).
One of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations, HSBC, has chosen Birmingham as the location for the head office of its new ring-fenced bank, HSBC UK. As a company with a customer base, employees and branch network that covers the entire UK, the bank is in the process of recruiting for 1,040 new roles in Britain’s second-biggest city.
Founded in 1836 as the Birmingham and Midland Bank, where the core of HSBC’s UK business originated, the bank is now investing 200 million pounds, including a new building, in the city where it first began trading.
As part of this investment, HSBC has acquired a 250-year lease on a new 210,000 sq. ft. office building in Birmingham’s Arena Central enterprise zone. The new building will be one of the greenest in the city, underscoring the Group’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, and will accommodate up to 2,500 HSBC UK staff.
Antonio Simoes, chief executive of HSBC Bank plc, commented on the success of the relocation:
“The creation of HSBC UK’s new head office in Birmingham provides us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a new and better bank for our customers and people. It’s important that our new head office reflects our brand, culture and heritage and we have been working hard to create the right infrastructure and environment.
The relocation process is already ahead of target, and so far around 53 percent of the new roles have been filled.
“We’re proud that our new head office will be one of the greenest buildings in Birmingham and we believe its location at the heart of the UK will help us get closer to our 17 million customers across the UK. More than half of the head office roles we’re moving from London to Birmingham are now accounted for and we’re recruiting internally and externally for the remaining roles, with more than 2,000 HSBC colleagues having already registered their interest.”
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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.
Having first located in Birmingham in 2014, global law firm Hogan Lovells moved into new offices in June 2018 to meet growing demand in the city and to accommodate its expansion out of London. In the space of three and a half years, the firm has increased its size in the region fivefold, growing from 10 to 55 people.
Through its Birmingham base, Hogan Lovells works closely with teams in the capital and internationally, delivering legal services to market-leading clients across the globe. Aiming to match the ambition of its clients, the firm delivers integrated solutions across corporate and commercial, finance, litigation, real estate and real estate finance.
Expanding out of London, into Birmingham, was an integral part of the firm’s UK strategy and commitment to broadening its offer. Picking the right regional location was key, and a particular focus was placed upon choosing a cost-effective environment with good transport links, access to clients, quality cultural amenities and career opportunities.
Michael Gallimore, Head of the Hogan Lovells Birmingham office, said:
“Our new workspace in Birmingham will act as a significant draw for our clients and our people as Hogan Lovells expands in a vibrant and confident market.
“The level of investment and regeneration in Birmingham is extraordinary, with new infrastructure, the upcoming HS2 line and major events like the Commonwealth Games on the horizon. Importantly, Birmingham also has an excellent talentpool of high quality lawyers.
“We are in no doubt that we absolutely made the right choice when deciding on Birmingham as the location for our regional UK office. It is significant that a number of our clients are also either investing in Birmingham or opening their own offices here”.
Birmingham’s business, professional & financial services cluster is the largest of any city outside London and includes over 13,000 companies. The region offers nearly 7,000 graduates trained in business, professional and financial services a year. This includes 1,760 in Business Studies – more than any UK city outside London according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Inward Investment agency Business Birmingham supported Hogan Lovells with sourcing the right location, as the company looked to set up a presence in the region.
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KPMG is a renowned professional services firm, and in recent years it has developed a thriving technology consultancy department, which is one of the fastest-growing business areas within the company. At the Birmingham office, KPMG’s consultants support and advise tech companies in the West Midlands on how best to store and use their data, helping them tackle some of the biggest challenges facing businesses in the UK.
In recent years, advancements in devolution such as the Midlands Engine and a new Metro Mayor have further consolidated the West Midlands as one of the UK’s leading regions, leading small and large businesses alike to flock there. Tim Kay, Director at KPMG, recognised the opportunity the region had to promote itself on the world stage and wanted to be a part of the West Midlands’ growth story. Leading KPMG’s work in the technology sector locally, Kay has seen first-hand how Birmingham’s booming tech sector has transformed the region:
“With tech, you can’t be subscale. You need to be big enough to compete with cities like Barcelona and Berlin, and the West Midlands is well placed to do that in the coming years.”
Like many other businesses in the West Midlands, KPMG was attracted to the region by its local talent base. With three of the top 20 universities in the UK situated in the area , the West Midlands has offered KPMG a skilled workforce that has strengthened the firm’s century-long history in Birmingham.
However, as Tim points out, one of the key reasons KPMG has done so well in the Midlands is due to business demand. Tens of thousands of businesses are created in the region every year , and they are increasingly turning to KPMG to advise them on everything from data analytics to the incoming GDPR regulations. Hailed as one of the most investable locations in the UK, the size of the West Midlands economy and its potential for even more growth has secured the future of KPMG’s tech consultancy in the region.
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