Growth of Northern Ireland's financial industry 'outpacing London'
The growth in Northern Ireland's financial and professional services industry is outpacing that of London and the south east of England, a new report has claimed.
Research from TheCityUK, which represents the sector, found that it grew by 6.1% between 2016 and 2017, adding 2,000 jobs within that period.
The study estimated that the financial and related professional services sector is worth £2.4bn a year to the economy here, employing around 35,000 people.
TheCityUK identified Northern Ireland as one of the UK's stand-out regions for legal services, financial services and fintech.
It showed that the sector is dominated by Belfast, with almost 20,000 finance and professional services workers based there, equal to 8.7% of all employment in the city. The sector is worth an estimated £1.7bn to the Belfast economy or 10.5%.
Leigh Meyer, managing director of Citi Belfast, and TheCityUK's city chair in Belfast, said: "In Belfast we have been working closely with our industry peers, local government and the education sector to support continued economic growth and renew the focus on investment.
"A key priority for the industry is to establish stronger relationships with local communities to tap into underused talent pools and promote career pathways within Belfast's growing ecosystem."
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Miles Celic, TheCityUK's chief executive, added: "This industry is vital for job creation and driving economic output to all parts of the UK, as well as contributing billions in tax revenue.
"London is central to the UK's strong position, but it is clear that the many thriving regional and national centres are an essential part of its success - Northern Ireland being a particular case in point."