London has always been a centre for international finance. Becoming Europe’s financial hub is not a thing that can be achieved easily or fast, it requires determination, the right politics and policies, and many other things. Even all of those elements aren’t enough for success without time. Fortunately, London had time along with all the other necessary things required to enable it to succeed in becoming the financial hub of Europe and one of the major financial centres of the world.
Today, London has two major financial centres. The City of London is the oldest and best known thanks to its being the home to many of London’s major financial institutions such as the Bank of England and Lloyd’s of London. More recently however the London Docklands area has been regenerated and built up to become an area of great significance and is now widely regarded as London’s second financial centre.
Areas such as Canary Wharf and Canada Square in Tower Hamlets play host to a wide variety of both national and international firms offering financial services, legal services and, more recently, fintech and telecommunication companies. More than 100,000 people work in offices in Canary Wharf alone, mainly in high rise buildings. Since the 1990’s Canary Wharf has contributed immensely to London’s skyline with iconic buildings such as 1, 8 and 25 Canada Square being counted amongst London’s tallest skyscrapers.
Time and History
Of course, this didn’t happen overnight, it took a long time for London to achieve its status as Europe’s financial hub. With its roots as a major trade centre going back hundreds of years, London was, and remains to this day, the United Kingdom’s capital city. During the height of the British empire London was home to the UK’s busiest and richest port, handling incredible volumes of goods from all across the British empire and its trading partners.
The Bank of England, for example, was designed by the Italian bank models and it was established in 1694. Also from that period, some similar institutions were emerging that were using the power and wealth of England at the time. What really helped London with this achievement was all the businessmen, traders and various investors that created a very rich atmosphere for future businesses. London is a city that was always protected by the sea and the Royal Navy, that gave them the security required to work towards financial dominance.
Some of the success London has can be attributable to the modern era. The location of London is perfect because it is located halfway between the Asian market to the East and the American market to the West. Those two powerful forces have always been an advantage for London and of course, the fact that English has been the standard language of business and commerce for the last hundred years or more has a lot to do with the financial state of London.
Overall if you look at London, there are many things that can be attributed to its status as a financial centre today. All those previously mentioned things were key but there were many important turning points. A review of the City of London’s history as a major financial centre is worth reviewing in detail.