The New York Times recently spoke to several high-ranking executives at major financial institutions that collectively employ tens of thousands of people in London. The executives seem to agree that a new financial hub will eventually emerge on continental Europe, though it could take many years. None of the executives have immediate plans to move their European headquarters from London, but all agreed they would eventually shift a significant number of highly paid employees to European cities.
Others said it would take five to 10 years, but a new London would almost certainly emerge in one of the other prominent cities of the European Union. “When I moved to London years ago, it wasn’t exactly cosmopolitan,” said another executive. “It wasn’t a place for great restaurants. The infrastructure has improved dramatically. It will take time, but eventually one big hub will develop.” Who might win this high-stakes financial sweepstakes? To handicap the race, I asked relocation experts at major firms to describe what they are looking for in a replacement for London. I also spoke to Mark Yeandle, a director of the Z/Yen Group in London and lead author of the Global Financial Centers Index, which ranks cities based on their attractiveness to financial services businesses. (Before last week’s vote, London was far and away the winner.)