The City of London is arguably known as the financial capital of the world. Home to the Bank of England and the London Stock Exchange, with over five hundred banks and fiscal institutions occupying a large number of its offices and buildings. However, the increasing amount this area has to offer to businesses in other industries has become apparent over time, and recent research has shown that the monopoly of financial establishments in the Square Mile has been gradually waning.
With a long and enduring history in the City, the finance sector remains as dominant as the area’s iconic skyline. According to Deloitte’s 2014 report into recent changes in the London office market, a substantial 41% of the City’s office space is occupied by the financial sector. To dismiss the City as ‘the financial district’ is reductive, however: the same report, corroborated by other recent research, indicates that the City is receiving a significant and continued influx of small-to-medium enterprises and startups across a variety of sectors. But what exactly are these businesses, and why is the City becoming such a popular place to have these headquarters located?
At the larger end of the business size spectrum, research conducted by the City Corporation and the City Property Association in 2014 showed that ‘technology, media and communications (TMT) took up nearly a quarter of all space in the Square Mile last year – more than financial occupiers’, which significantly contradicts the image of the City as a primarily finance-led area. A notable leader in the telecommunications and media industry, BT Group, is one such example, with its headquarters in the EC area. Behind the financial sector, the second largest business demographic in the City is law. A number of high-profile British and international legal firms can also be found within the City: Allen and Overy and Linklaters are just two prominent examples to hold offices in the E1 and EC areas.
If the above examples appear to indicate that the City is the sole preserve of finance giants and corporation headquarters, this could not be further from the truth. Small businesses and startups are fast becoming a firm fixture in the area: according to Mark Boleat of the City of London Corporation, ‘SMEs actually make up over 98% of all businesses within the Square Mile’. More research from City AM also highlighted an influx of smaller businesses taking advantage of the City’s many offices and business areas – ‘startups, SMEs and the agile, niche businesses need space to grow, and the City’s range of office buildings serves these needs perfectly’ – and according to the Deloitte report this business variety is likely to increase.
The reasons for this diversity of growth arguably stem both from the City’s excellent central location and its burgeoning reputation as a prime up-and-coming area for technology and telecommunications firms, compared with other commercial areas in the Northwest and West of London. This reputation may be a mixture of cause and effect, as large office buildings previously occupied by financial institutions provide prime space for businesses of a variety of needs; often in the form of serviced offices, which tend to suit smaller businesses and startups, although there is no limit to their application. Deloitte predicts that this continued rise in new businesses will have knock-on effects on the City’s business property market in the near future, as technological development continues to make working space smaller and ultimately more affordable; the report also concludes it is likely that solutions to businesses’ space requirements will need to become more flexible as a result of this, leading to a possible rise in the use of serviced offices.
With such a wealth of history, business advantages and appealing assets on offer, not to mention its convenient location, the City is the perfect area for business ventures new or veteran. LEO has an unrivalled selection of luxury serviced offices in the City at many prime locations across the area’s postcodes. From properties in London’s banking core at 85 Gresham Street to a more modern building with superb commuter links at 288 Bishopsgate, LEO has the perfect serviced office to suit the needs of any operation.
For any enquiries about LEO locations please contact: Serviced Offices: +44 (0)20 3008 8888 | Meeting Rooms: +44 (0)20 3008 8889