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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 Wesleyan Assurance and Phoenix Life as well as hosting Allianz, AON, Aza, 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 14,300 students currently studying law within an hour of Birmingham, with 4 major institutions offering law degrees within Greater Birmingham itself.
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 a rapidly growing industry in the UK that secured over £650 million inward investment in 2015. RBS and Deutsche Bank have recently chosen to be based in Birmingham, with HSBC in the process of relocating their head office from Canary Wharf to the heart of the city centre, all of which is fuelling a large upsurge of FinTech companies moving into the city.
In 2016, global FinTech company Lombard Risk, chose Birmingham out of 26 other global cities to open a new tech centre investing in a new wave of products, creating 150 new jobs. Choosing Birmingham as a location was due to the availability of a large highly skilled talent pool within software development and financial analysis.
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.