The Manchester launch of the Financial Centres of Excellence initiative aims to attract financial service businesses to Manchester and the North West.

At the recent launch of the initiative, Harriet Baldwin, Economic Treasury Secretary, said:

“The financial services industry is a key part of the government’s plan to rebalance the economy and create a Northern Powerhouse.”

More than 100 banks and financial institutions already occupy office space in Manchester and several more are planning to open offices in the city. As well as cheaper rents than London, Manchester has a pool of talented employees with both the digital and economical skills that financial services require.

Another reason why businesses favour Manchester is the excellent transport links, with London just a two-hour journey away by rail.

The Financial Centres of Excellence initiative hopes to persuade international companies with offices in London to open their back office facilities in the North West rather than overseas.

Major companies already occupy office space in Manchester. A few years ago, the BBC set up a new major centre at the Media City complex in Salford, and TalkTalk is employing 1,300 people at its new Soapworks development, also in Salford.

The Manchester Evening News recently reported that Manchester will need an extra one million square feet of office space during the next three years. It predicted that the number of office workers will increase by 36,000 by the year 2025. The Financial Centres of Excellence initiative is a key component of this growth.