Brexit could have huge ramifications for the UK’s investment industry, which manages more than £1.2 trillion worth of assets, a new report has warned.
An annual survey by the UK’s Investment Association (IA) warned that the EU referendum result could ultimately dent the industry, which manages 37 per cent of all European assets – more than the German, French and Italian industries combined.
The report said: “Whether the UK retains its position as a centre of excellence for asset management could be partly determined by whether overseas clients, particularly those located in mainland Europe, exhibit a preference post-Brexit to repatriate their asset management activity within the EU.
“It remains unclear what the relationship between the EU and the UK will be like post-Brexit, but the decision to leave the EU may have ramifications for all industries.”
The IA said the survey results raise important questions over whether Brexit will have a commercial impact on the industry and regulatory environment, and whether firms will need to relocate staff or set up shop in the EU.
More than 37,000 people were directly employed by the UK’s investment industry in 2015, marking a 5 per cent jump from 35,100 a year earlier. That number rises to 92,000 when including people indirectly employed by the industry, in positions related to asset management, including fund and administration activities, the IA said.
While London and Scotland are still “key centres” for the industry, the IA stressed that firms have spread across the UK, running offices in areas including Oxford, Bournemouth, Norwich, Peterborough, Leeds and York.
In total, investment management accounts for 6 per cent of Britain’s total net service exports, the survey explained.
Chris Cummings, chief executive of the IA, said: “By serving as a ‘turntable of capital’, the investment hub enables its clients to benefit from economies of scale and unrivalled investment expertise while also providing lifeblood funding for capital markets in the UK and globally.
“The industry is now considering the ramifications of Brexit in earnest and the focus must be on seizing the opportunities that are being presented to continue to grow the UK’s investment hub globally.”