New York City is considered the global financial hub as it is home to the world’s two most valuable stock exchanges and the most elite investment banking firms. But when it comes to currency trading and exchanging, New York City and the United States rank far behind London and the United Kingdom.
The daily value of all foreign currencies that exchange hands on a daily basis is approximately £4.73 trillion. Among that figure, UK’s excellent brokerages facilitate around £1.72 trillion worth of transactions.
The United Kingdom’s Dominance
There are several reasons why London and the United Kingdom dominate the global money transfer industry. The first has to do with the geographic proximity to the rest of the world. While traders and currency broker experts in New York City are asleep, professionals in London and across Asia are busy transacting with each other.
And when American traders and business people wake up and start the day, workers across the United Kingdom are still at their offices.
This alone isn’t reason enough to crown the UK as the leader of forex trading. The UK government is among the most stable in the world with a rich history of democracy, freedom, rule of law, and perhaps more importantly, a dedication towards economic development.
Equally important, the country’s official language of English — the global language of choice for commerce.
The 2016 Brexit election did little to impact the country’s finance industry. Quite the opposite holds true as some of the largest banks reiterated London as part of their long-term plans to address the global market.
Goldman Sachs, as an example, invested £1 billion for its London-based European HQ in the Square Mile region in 2019.
Société Générale announced in 2014 it will consolidate its London workers into one location and many expected the Brexit vote to prompt the French bank to look elsewhere. But in 2019, the company finalized its move into a new state-of-the-art building in Canary Wharf.
Currency Brokerage Facts And Figures
Perhaps one fact that best highlights the UK’s dominance in foreign exchange transactions has to do with the US dollar. According to data from 2018, nearly twice as many US dollars are traded in the UK as in the US.
The following year, forex trading activity stemming from London hit a record high. The Bank of England said in its semi-annual report forex trading in London was up 7% from the prior period a year ago to around £2 trillion.
The average daily UK foreign exchange turnover was £1.46 trillion in October.
The USD/EUR currency exchange pair was the most commonly traded with an average daily turnover of £558 billion.
Trading activity in the EUR/GBP reached a historical all-time high.
The USD/CNY currency exchange pair also reached a record high.
Currency Brokerages For Regular People
The dominance of UK currency brokers extends beyond corporate clients transacting tens of millions of pounds at a time. In fact, the explosion of UK-based financial technology (fintech) companies over the years dominate the global competition.
TransferWise is among one of the most closely followed currency exchange companies. The London-based money transfer company boasts millions of users and was valued at around £4 billion.
The UK currency broker was born after two native Estonians met at a party in England. The two quickly realized they share an identical problem when it comes to exchanging money. By transacting with each other and ignoring a bank as a middleman, the two saved a lot of money. The two quickly realized their idea is a viable solution that can be scaled to become a global business.
TransferWise is one of many new unicorn companies — that is startups valued at $1 billion US or more. In fact, the UK is home to 45 unicorns, 18 of which are fintech companies.
Money Transfer Options Are Popular In Europe
Money transfer companies are a lot more popular in Europe than they are in America. There are a few reasons why this is the case.
The first has to do with the close proximity of countries to each other. Within a five-hour span, someone in the UK can travel to multiple European countries so there is an immediate need to exchange currencies. By contrast, a five-hour road trip in America means a family may not even leave their home state.
Europeans are much more open to travel than Americans so by default demand to exchange currencies is greater. In fact, US citizens ranked 60th out of more than 100 countries in their openness to travel the world. This isn’t an insult or jab at Americans, rather it is just one of the many cultural differences as Americans much prefer exploring their own country.
Americans that do travel abroad tend to avoid online money exchange. Surprisingly to many, one study shows that trust in banks surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic reinforced an already strong sense of loyalty a customer felt with their bank. It makes sense they would choose convenience and trust over saving money through cheaper money exchange options they aren’t familiar with.
Conclusion: Brexit Won’t Slow UK Money Transfer Industry
For years, many experts predicted that London and the UK would see their status as an economic powerhouse and a hub for currency exchanges tumble. But heading into the post-COVID recovery era, the UK’s advanced lead in administering vaccines gives it a massive advantage over its European peers that can’t go overlooked.
Regardless, the country’s tremendous advantage over the US in terms of money exchanges might be a gap that is too wide for anyone to catch up to. The dominance of UK currency brokers coupled with one of the world’s most advanced unicorn incubators may have secured UK’s financial importance for decades to come.
Army ‘on standby’ as UK prepares for more postal, rail, lecturer and nurses strikes in December
The armed forces are said to be “on standby” to help fill various roles ahead of a new raft of strikes across health, education and postal sectors this month.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff are committed to walking out over pay disputes on Wednesday, 30 November as various organised strikes persist across the country.
Countless employees from various industries who feel they are underappreciated and underpaid are set to join the ongoing rail strikes, as well as the thousands of nurses expected to follow suit on the picket line throughout December.
Now, as per the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery, given the strikes’ proximity to Christmas, roping in the British military now seems likely. Dr Emma Runswick of the British Medical Association said there is there a simple way to put an end to mass industrial action: pay people fairly.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Cordery confirmed that while the army is waiting in the wings to help fill relevant NHS roles, “the reality is if the army or other armed forces step in it will very much be at the margins rather than going out and driving ambulances”.
It remains unclear whether army personnel will be needed to combat the impending labour shortage across other industries. Regardless, the Communication Workers Union are going ahead will a series of strikes in December.
Having formally called on Royal Mail employees to join the national demonstrations for strike action on the following days:
Friday, 9 December
Sunday, 11 December
Wednesday, 14 December
Thursday, 15 December
Friday, 23 December
Saturday, 24 December
As for rail workers, RMT Assistant General Secretary Eddie Dempsey shared a similar sentiment, assuring that while the train drivers and the transport sector, in general, are standing firm, negotiations with Network Rail and other operators continue this week.
In addition to RMT members across 14 rail companies striking on 13-14 and 16-17 December, as well as 3-4 and 6-7 January, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said that staff working onboard and station roles will take action against Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December.
Meanwhile, the National Education Union (NEU) which represents 77 sixth-form colleges in England are also striking over pay, stating that in real terms, teachers have suffered a pay cut of around 20% since 2010.
Furthermore, the University and College Union (UCU) already held a 48-hour strike last week and is now set to hold another 24-hour walkout among university staff. As well as organising a large rally in London, union members across at least 150 different institutions will be joining the December strikes.
Look around brand new Coronation Street set as ITV unveils Weatherfield Precinct
The Coronation Street set has had a massive expansion, with a new Weatherfield Precinct unveiled today.
The location has often been name-checked in the popular soap, but for the first time, cast members will be able to film scenes there.
The set won’t hit our screens until 13 January – but The Manc headed down for a little sneak peek.
The two-storey Weatherfield Precinct set is built around a children’s play park, with a row of shops carefully constructed by the Coronation Street set designers.
There’s everything from a charity shop to a Chinese takeaway to a dessert bar.
Above the shops sits a row of maisonettes with a balcony running in front.
There’s incredible attention to detail throughout, from the litter on the floor (which includes a packet of a fictitious crisp brand) to the fake sausage rolls in the bakery windows to the washing lines nailed to the walls.
Everything has been deliberately weathered and aged, so it looks like it’s been there for decades rather than carefully built in 2022.
The new Weatherfield Precinct set was unveiled today by members of the cast including Jack P Shepherd, Sally Dynevor, Antony Cotton, Jimmi Harkishin, Daniel Brocklebank, Channique Sterling-Brown, Elle Mulvaney, Tanisha Gorey, James Craven and Colson Smith.
It’s been added as an extension to the existing iconic set, which spans 7.7 acres near MediaCityUK.
Producer Iain MacLeod said: “Hats off to our design and construction teams who have conjured a totally convincing new precinct for our drama! They took their inspiration from Salford’s many real-world, late 20th century shopping areas and what they have created is a brilliant, characterful space to tell a diverse range of stories.
“Expect to see teens hanging out at the dessert shop, families enjoying the play area and, after dark, a rogues’ gallery, up to shady business in the ginnels. I am really excited by the arrival on screen of this much discussed but never seen corner of the Weatherfield universe.”
Head of design Rosie Mullins explained the process: “Back in 2013 Coronation Street moved into its new home at Media City. With this move came exciting potential to continue to develop and expand our Weatherfield Community onsite.
“The first expansion came in the form of Victoria Street and Weatherfield Police Station builds back in 2018.
“In February 2021 I set about the first pencil drawings for a very exciting new exterior build – Weatherfield Precinct. We have often heard about this precinct and although we have filmed over the years at a range of shopping locations, we had never established our own Weatherfield Precinct.
“It had always intrigued me – what would it look like and who would we find there? The opportunity to bring to life a colourful and grittier area of Weatherfield was so exciting!
“Weatherfield Precinct was inspired by the 1960s shopping precincts that we see across many areas of the UK. In designing this the team gathered hundreds of images with a particular focus given to those in our local Manchester and Salford area. I wanted there to be aspects of the Precinct that people from all walks of life identify with and recognise. I wanted it to reflect how communities develop but aspects of them can also feel like stepping back in time.
“In this Precinct we find an array of businesses, a playground, residential flats, a small ginnel, Weatherfield community hub and a very colourful community recycling centre.
“Working with Iain on what the writing team needs from the Precinct has meant that we have managed to pack so much into this new set! I cannot wait to see the arrival onscreen of Sweety Nuff dessert & milkshake shop, Gregory Pope Foundation Charity Shop, Rutlands bakery, Pound Outlet and Bargainanza Pawnbrokers.
“The most incredible part of this has been watching this build rise from a small car park with a mass of ugly steel, concrete and timber to the beautifully constructed, characterful 1960s 2 storey precinct that we see today.
“This build has been one of the most enjoyable builds that we have undertaken and showcases the many behind the scenes talents that the programme has to offer. I am incredibly proud of the detail, the quality of the build and for what it offers for future storytelling for the show. I am also so very proud of how it was brought to life by our in-house talented Design Team.”